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Colonial Modernity and Gender in Korean Literature and Film


Admission requirements

Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact their co-ordinator of studies.


What did it mean to be modern or modernized in Korea during the first half of the twentieth century? How were the ideas or practices of modernity conceived and exercised? What historical, political, and social changes both shaped and were shaped by modern Korean experiences, thereby unsettling Confucian gender roles? This graduate seminar examines critical discussions on colonial modernity and modern Korean experiences through the analysis of filmic and literary works produced and circulated both within and beyond Korea. Students will delve into major issues and debates that have emerged over the last two decades in discussions on modern Korea and its encounters with the world. Students will draw upon primary sources, films and literary texts from the colonial period, and postcolonial representations of colonial Korea, as they develop their own research questions and topics. This seminar consists of class discussions, presentations, and a mini-conference to showcase students’ original research. A reading knowledge of Korean or Japanese is highly recommended, but not required.

Course objectives

This course has three main purposes. First, students will be encouraged to pursue an informed and nuanced historical understanding of modern Korean experiences and aesthetic practices under colonial rule. Second, students will be equipped with the critical concepts and analytical tools essential for the analysis of both primary sources and secondary materials on colonial Korea. Finally, individual and collective learning skills will be fostered through active class participation, presentations, and group work.


Check timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:

  • Total course load for the course (number of EC x 28 hours), for a course of 5 EC is 140 hours, for 10 EC 280.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (eg 2 hours per week x 14 weeks = 28 hours)

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature (as a possible criterion approx. 7 pages per hour with deviations up and down depending on the material to be studied) (if applicable) time for completing assignments, whether in preparation at the college

  • (If applicable) time to write a paper (including reading / research)

280 hours

Assessment method

  • Attendance: 10%

  • Active Class Participant (Blackboard Postings and Presentations): 30%

  • Formal Paper Assignments: 60%


Yes, see for more info Blackboard

Reading list

Required Texts
Yi Kwang-su, Mujŏng, trans. by Ann Sung-Hi Lee
Chong-un Kim, Bruce Fulton, eds., trans., A Ready-Made Life: Early Masters of Modern Korean Fiction
Sunyoung Park, Jefferson J.A. Gatrall, eds., trans., On the Eve of the Uprising and Other Stories from Colonial Korea
Park Wan-suh, “Momma’s Stake: Part One” (1980), trans. by Hyun-Jae Yee Sallee

Recommended Texts
Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Hele Tiffin, Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts
Gi-Wook Shin and Michael Robinson, eds., Colonial Modernity in Korea
Hyaeweol Choi, New Women in Colonial Korea: A Souce Book
Hyaeweol Choi, Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea
Todd Henry, Assimilating Seoul
Theodore Jun Yoo, The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea: Education, Labor, and Health, 1910-1945
Brian Yecies and Ae-Gyung Shim, Korea’s Occupied Cinemas

All readings will be on reserve at the East Asian library.
Suggested readings will be mentioned on the Blackboard site.


Registration through uSis


Dr. NamheeHan