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Text, thought and culture


This is the course description from 2016-2017
The new course description will follow as soon as possible

Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA students in Korean Studies.
Good oral and written English skills are required. 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.
The course includes three meetings on academic skills.

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

  • Learn how to use sources and avoid plagiarism

  • Deepen written communication skills and familiarity with strategies of argumentation


For more information see: Timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total workload: 140 hours

  • Contact hours (2 hours per week x 13 weeks + 6 hours EAV classes): 32 hours

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

  • Paper and short written assignments: 46 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;


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University.
General information about the Registration procedure


Dr. Saeyoung Park


As is the case for all Korean Studies courses, a strict attendance policy will be enforced. Attendance to all lectures and seminars is expected. Failure to attend results in a lower grade. If you do not attend more than three classes you will not be able to continue attending the classes and your exam and/or paper may not be graded by the instructor(s). If you have a valid reason not to attend, you may get dispensation from this rule, but you have to consult the coordinator of studies Mw. S. Kraakman on this.