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Topical Reading: Korea Encounters the World


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA3 students in Korean Studies who have successfully completed all the requirements for BA1 and BA2 and plan to write BA final papers (theses) in Spring 2020.


This course is an introductory class to help BA3 students prepare for their BA final papers in a broadly-defined field of Korea’s relations with the outside world. The topics include diverse forms of Korea’s relations with the world in terms of bilateral, regional and global/transnational interactions from the mid-19th century up until today. Korea has experienced and driven drastic changes of its status in the world – from an isolated country with the late Joseon Dynasty’s closed-door policy to a world-leading country in a variety of fields in the 21st century. The change of Korea’s role and status in the world has been led by its own historical, political, and economic development as well as by the change of external environments: for instance, the end of World War II and the demise of the Cold War structure. This course provides students with three different formats of teaching (lecture, seminar, and reading session) to help them equip with comprehensive knowledge about the causes, process, and results of Korea’s changes and developments in its relations with the outside world. Throughout the semester, this course also intends to help students discover a research subject in this field and formulate a detailed research question and plan for their final papers.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • to deepen knowledge related to the themes of this course;

  • to familiarize with academic debates in the themes of this course;

  • to learn various research methodologies;

  • to develop critical reading skills of written and visual materials (both in English and Korean);

  • to develop academic writing skills;

  • to develop group presentation skills using written, visual and/or audio sources

  • to find and formulate a research topic/question for a BA final paper (thesis);

  • to set up a research project for a BA final paper


For more information, see: Timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load (tentative)

Total course load: 10EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Lecture and seminar: 2 hours per week x 13 week = 26 hours

  • Reading session (Korean materials): 1 hour per week x 13 week = 13 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 8 hours per week x 13 week = 104 hours

  • Weekly assignment: 3 hours per week x 10 week = 33 hours

  • Group presentation preparation: 30 hours

  • Preparation and writing of a final reflective paper: 70 hours

  • BA3 final joint meeting: 4 hours

Assessment method (tentative)

  1. Weekly reading reports (20%)
  2. Group presentation (30%)
  3. Final reflective paper (50%): max. 5,000 words


Blackboard is used for delivery of relevant course information and materials and for the submission of assignments.

Reading list

A reading list will be included in the syllabus to be uploaded on Blackboard.


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


Dr. S. Y. Jang


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. 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 on this.