Contemporary Korea

Korea University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Contemporary Korea

  • Host University

    Korea University

  • Location

    Seoul, South Korea

  • Area of Study

    Asian Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    I. Course Description
    This course is designed to introduce students to the main aspects of contemporary
    Korean society, including those pertaining to the family, industrialization, gender, aging,
    labor, population, religion, and political system. The course will specifically focus on
    topics and issues that figure prominently in the lives of the Korean people, such as
    patriarchy, modernization, education frenzy, urbanization, authoritarianism, collectivism,
    and anti-Americanism. Each of these issues will be examined through sociological,
    historical, and comparative perspectives. The assigned readings include chapters from
    an introductory sociology textbook to enhance the students? understanding of the
    workings of society and to help broaden their perspective to appreciate the social
    institutions of other countries. Every effort will be made to make each session lively
    and engaging, so your active participation is extremely important and is a vital part of
    the course.

    II. Course Objectives
    The principal objective of this course is to prepare students with the knowledge and
    analytical tools needed to develop balanced views on Korean society. Toward this end,
    students are expected to:
    -Understand the key dimensions and principal trends of Korean society;
    -Comprehend how class, race-ethnicity, gender, and age relate to social
    institutions such as the family, education, economy, religion, and politics;
    -Think globally, question commonly held beliefs, assess different perspectives
    used by sociologists, and to use this process to understand the forces that
    generate change and continuity in Korean society;
    -Understand how significant changes in society affect the experiences of diverse
    groups in Korea;
    -Identify the significant social institutions involved in domestic governance and
    assess their contribution; and
    -Understand various social problems facing Korean society, including inequality,
    sexism, and aging population.

    III. Required Readings
    -Kim, Andrew Eungi and Joonshik Choi. 2015. Contemporary Korean Culture: The Persistence of Shamanistic and Confucian Values and Practices. Seoul: Korea University Press.
    -A reading packet (available from Gongmunhwasa, located just outside the back gate)

    Recommended Readings
    -Alford, C. Fred. 1999. Think No Evil: Korean Values in the Age of Globalization. Ithaca,
    NY: Cornell University Press.
    -Breen, Michael. 1998. The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies. New York: St. Martin?s.
    -Amsden, Alice. 1989. Asia?s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    -Kendall, Laurel. 2002. Under Construction: The Gendering of Modernity, Class, and Consumption in the Republic of Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
    -Lie, John. 1998. Han Unbound: The Political Economy of South Korea. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    -Armstrong, Charles. 2002. Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy and the State. New York: Routledge.
    -Oh, John Kie-Chiang. 1999. Korean Politics: The Quest for Democratization and Economic Development. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.