History | Modern Korea
G372 | 14911 | M. Robinson

A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA’s only
Above class carries Culture Studies credit

This course examines the history of modern Korea from its first
encounters with 19th century Japanese and Western imperialism until
today.  Along the way we will probe the mysteries of the emergence
of a modern Korean national identity in opposition to its
traditional cultural relationship with China as well as its
opposition to Japanese colonial rule.  The course will continue with
a close examination of the Cold War forces that divided the
peninsula into what are now South and North Korean nation-states.
Our examination of the crucial colonial interregnum will uncover the
sources of modern Korean political identity, the seeds of South
Korean government-business relationship, as well as the origins of
what has evolved in the South as a vibrant mass, consumer culture.
Exploring the contrasts between the experiences of North Korea and
South Korea will also produce a refined understanding of the
interplay between politics and economic development in this, for the
Pacific powers, strategically important location.  In more
contemporary times we will unravel the political-economy of South
Korea and peer beneath the economic boosterism of the ROK State to
discover the issues that continue to inhibit the creation of a truly
open and pluralist society in the “post-democracy” era.  And
finally, our examination of contemporary North Korea will de-mystify
its belligerent foreign policy and reckless nuclear brinksmanship.