nl en

Colonial Modernity and Gender in Korean Literature and Film (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant research MA programme. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


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


Attendance and participation are obligatory.

Course Load

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

  • Total course load for the course: 10 EC = 280 hours.

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

  • Preparation for weekly seminars: 4 hours per week x 12 weeks = 48 hours

  • Extra hours for ResMA students’ tutorials: 6 hours.

  • Extra hours for preparing for ResMA students’ tutorials: 24 hours.

  • Presentation: 6 hours

  • Paper assignment: 70 hours

Assessment method

  • Attendance: 15%

  • Active Class Participation: 20%

  • Individual Presentations (10%)

  • Weekly Postings (200 words X 10 times = 2,000 words) (10%)

  • Formal Paper Assignments: 65%

  • Proposal (500 words) and Annotated Bibliography (15%)

  • Final Research Paper (4,000 words) (50%)

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the final paper (50%)may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation. In the case of a re-write the overall grade will not exceed 6.0.

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.


Yes, see for more info Blackboard

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

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.

Additional reading for the ResMA students will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ field(s) of interest. This extra literature will be discussed during the (extra) tutorial sessions.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. NamheeHan


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).