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Culture & Society: Transnational Korea


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA students in Korean Studies.


What is Korean culture? Who is defining it in the process of production, consumption, and circulation? What sociocultural issues and aesthetic expressions do we see in it? This course, “Culture and Society: Transnational Korea” seeks possible answers to these questions, examining Korean cinema, modern literature, television dramas, and popular music from transnational and historical perspectives. Students discuss a wide range of literary or cinematic texts that include short stories, novels, cinematic auteurs’ works, popular genre films, and documentary and experimental works. Cultural products made by non-Koreans are also introdueced, providing a framework for comparison and contrast. Major course topics are regional politics and digital media in the global Korean wave; transnational imaginations of divided Korea; multiculturalism and racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities in contemporary South Korea; and the Korean diaspora. The course consists of mini-lectures, class discussions, student presentations, and film viewings. By actively participating in these activities, students will be able to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills as well as advanced academic writing skills.

Course objectives

This course has four main goals.
First, students are encouraged to call into question any presuppositions regarding Korean culture and challenge the geographically bounded definition of Korea.
Second, as the course progresses, students develop their own research projects, focusing on particular literary, cinematic, or digital texts that lead them to probe cultural, social and aesthetic aspects of Korea.
Third, students provide detailed and nuanced readings of course materials by practicing textual analysis.
Fourth, students gain a historically informed and theoretically sophisticated understanding of modern Korea by examining major essays in Korean cultural and media studies.



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

  • Hours spent on attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and preparation for the lectures: 6 hours per week x 13 weeks = 78 hours

  • Preparation for papers: 36 hours

Assessment method

Final grades will be determined by the following formula:

  • Active Class Participant: 30%

    • Attendance: (5%)
    • Group Presentations (5%)
    • Individual Presentation (10%)
    • Class Discussions (10%)
  • Writing Assignments: 70%

    • Weekly Postings (15%, 150 words x 10 times = 1.500 words)
    • Midterm Paper (15%, 1.000 words)
    • Final Research Paper (40%, 2.500 words)


Yes. Blackboard will be used for delivery of relevant reading materials and submission of assignments.

Reading list

Readings and DVDs are on reserve at the East Asian Library or available at the University Library.

Recommended Texts

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research

  • David Bordwell, Film Art: Introduction

  • Amy Villarejo, Film Studies: the Basics

  • Timothy Corrigan, Short Guide to Writing about Film

  • Youna Kim, ed. The Korean Wave: Korean Media Go Global


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration for Studeren à la carte
Registration for Contractonderwijs


Dr. Namhee Han, Arsenaal 1.21



Co-ordinator of Studies Mw. S. Kraakman