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Economic Development and Democratization of South Korea


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA2 Korean Studies students who have successfully completed all the requirements for BA1.


This course is designed to introduce BA2 students with scholarly debates and knowledge in South Korea’s economic development and democratization. Economy and politics are two of the main pillars upholding a modern state. Either one of the two cannot exist alone, and the interaction between economy and politics exerts a variety of effects on state- and nation-building processes. The history of South Korea reveals that the parallel courses of economic development and democratization have been deeply intertwined, but the direction and the speed of changes have not necessarily coincided. Through the through reading of required literature followed by active discussion in class, this course will provide students with sufficient knowledge and insights about the foundations of contemporary South Korea through the lenses of economic and democratic transformation.

Course objectives

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

  • Acquire a strong basis of historical knowledge of South Korea’s economic development and democratization

  • Understand the drivers, process, and consequences of South Korea’s economic development and democratization

  • Gain keen insights about the closely intertwined, but sometimes contradictory, development of South Korea’s economy and democracy

  • Develop the analytical skills through close readings of textual and visual materials

  • Demonstrate the ability to design and write a long academic paper on relevant issues

  • Enhance skills for group discussion and oral presentation


For more information, see: Timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 140 hours

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

  • Study of required readings and preparation of seminar: 4 hours per week x 13 weeks = 52 hours

  • Preparation of group presentation: 8 hours

  • Preparation and writing of critical literature review and research paper proposal: 14 hours

  • Preparation and writing of final research paper: 40 hours

Assessment method

  1. Class discussion and participation (10%)
  2. Group presentation (20%) – on a movie or a documentary film directly or indirectly dealing with one of the weekly themes of this course
  3. Critical literature review and research paper proposal (20%) – 1,000 – 2,000 words
  4. Research paper – a final draft (50%) with 3,000 – 4,000 words including footnotes, graphics, figures, and tables
    To pass the course, students must receive an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher and a passing grade for the final paper assignment (5.5 or higher). Students who failed the course (receiving an overall mark of 5.49 [=5] or lower) or who failed the final paper assignment (5.49 or lower) must take a resit. The resit consists of a revised and expanded version of the final research paper of 5,000 – 6,000 words. The final grade is the aggregate average of all components.
    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. Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days after the publication of their final grades in order to review the grades.


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.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


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.