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Text, thought and culture


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA students in Korean Studies.
Good oral and written English skills are reguired. Students are expected to purchase and read one chosen text over the summer and to have completed it prior to the first day of class.

For Fall 2016, students are expected to have read JaHyun Kim Haboush’s The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng prior to the first day of class. As is the norm at the university level, read the introduction as well if a book is assigned in its entirety. This text is available at Amazon and at the library.


This class offers an introduction to Korean society and culture through the study of important literary and cultural texts (in translation). A socially contextualized critical hermeneutics constitutes the primary mode of engagement in this course. Students will acquire knowledge of Korean history and culture and a basic familiarity of interpretive and analytical methodologies.

Course objectives

  • Acquire an overview of Korean literature and Korean history

  • Develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills

  • Learn how to evaluate sources, their capacities and limitations and distinguish between primary and secondary sources

  • Deepen written communication skills and familiarity with strategies of argumentation


The timetable is available on the Koreastudies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total workload: 140 hours

  • Contact hours (2 hours per week x 13 weeks): 26 hours

  • Time for the study of the compulsory literature (3 hours pw x 13 weeks): 39 hours

  • Paper and short written assignments: 52 hours

  • Prepare written exam: 23 hours

Assessment method

  • written exam with short questions and some essay questions (40%)

  • paper (40%)

  • active participation in discussions, in-class exercises, quizzes, short essays as well as research lab exercises (20%)

  • The final grade for the course is concluded by (i) determining the weighted average based on part numbers combined with (ii) additional requirements. These additional requirements concern in the rule that always one or more of the sub-keys should be sufficient.

Attendance policy: a strict attendance policy is imposed. Missing more than three sessions gets you barred from further attending the course and your papers may not be graded. Any absences must be notified in advance. Dispensation from the attendance rule is possible in consultation with the coordinator of studies and for valid reasons only.

Work is accepted ahead of time but no late assignments are accepted.

The instructor reserves the right to require student submission of any notes, first drafts, outlines or prepatory work for any assignment.

To pass the course students must receive an overall mark of 5.50 [=6] or higher and a passing grade for the main paper assignment (5.5 or higher). Students who fail the course (receiving an overall mark of 5.49 [=5] or lower) can take a resit. Only one resit is possible and for this course, it consists of a paper of 5,000 words (100% of the grade, critical analysis of primary source). No supervision is provided in the case of a resit. Resits must be completed within 3 weeks from the instructor notifying the student. The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


This course uses Blackboard in addition to other modes of communication in order to disseminate critical information. For Dr. S. Park’s version of this course, the latest syllabus will be available on Blackboard.

Reading list

Representative texts include but are not limited to the following:

  • Peter H. Lee, Anthology of Korean Literature, Honolulu, 1981;

  • Peter H. Lee (ed.) Sources of Korean Tradition 2 vols. (Columbia University Press), available at the bookstore;


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


Dr. Saeyoung Park