The Korean Past.
Sections: Friday 9am, 10am, 12pm
Instructor and TAs
Prof. Kyung Moon Hwang
Tuesday 2:00-3:30pm, Wednesday 2-3:30pm
Tuesday 2-3pm, Friday 1-2pm
Tuesday 2-3:30pm, Friday 11am-12:30pm
(please read carefully)
Korea remains a mystery for most people, including many influential Americans in politics and journalism.
This course aims to help the student
understand Korea through the most comprehensive and reliable approach--through its history.
When we understand the larger flow of Korean history
and the recurrent themes that have characterized the development of Korean civilization, we can get a more substantial, more sophisticated grasp of
the reasons behind the headlines.
In the process, we gain an appreciation for the richness of a very distinctive, and--for most of us--wholly different
civilization, which can teach us much about common patterns in human history and provide us a fresh perspective on American or Western
Several themes run through the course of Korean history from the very beginning of historical records to the present day:
1. The search for Korean
identity and cultural distinctiveness; 2. Relationship to the outside world; 3. Forms of political domination; 4. Social hierarchy; 5. Gender
and family; and 6. The role of religion.
These themes, often interacting with each other, will appear repeatedly, and the challenge will be to
determine how each theme remains consistent as well as how each theme develops in accordance with the historical context of any given time.
A final important theme will be the country’s
, especially its history in the 20th century, when Korea, one of the oldest
civilizations in the world, was suddenly bombarded with the full range of economic, political, social, and cultural change.
The modern period
witnessed, for the first time in over a thousand years, subjugation into direct rule by another power (period of Japanese colonialism), and the division