East Asian Languages and Cultures | Understanding Two Koreas: Politics, Society, and U.S. Policy
E356 | 30433 | Jung, Heon Joo


As the staging-ground for the collision between the great powers,
the Korean peninsula has been a pivotal geopolitical area in modern
history. Since the creation of a diplomatic relationship with the
Korean kingdom in 1882, the United States has been long and deeply
involved in the historical changes that influenced the fate of Korea
as a country. With the end of the Cold War and the new threat of
North Korea’s nuclear ambition, the US involvement in the foreign
policy decisions of the Korean peninsula is far more critical today
than in the past.

The main goal of this course is to introduce students to the
complexities of US relations with two Koreas. This will involve
surveying the historical background and examining the key issues and
challenges the countries face today. Is the US responsible for the
division of Korea and the delayed democratization in South Korea?
Can the US-South Korean military alliance survive another fifty
years? Despite military threats from the North, why have South
Koreans become increasingly critical of US policy? Is “regime
change” the best way for the US to resolve the North Korean nuclear
crisis and make the country safer from terrorism? Will North Korea
disappear in the near future? Using the perspectives of the US and
the two Koreas, this course explores these topics to gauge the
undercurrents that affect US-Korean relations.

Requirements will include a midterm and a final exam, a short
response paper, a film review essay, class attendance, and
participation. No previous background on Korea is required.