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Text, thought and culture


Admission requirements

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


This class offers an introduction to Korean society and culture through the study of important literary and cultural texts (in translation). 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 and assess 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.

Reading list

Required texts include but are not limited to the following:

  • Syllabus “Inleiding in de traditionele Koreaanse literatuur” (Blackboard)

  • Peter H. Lee (ed.), Anthology of Korean Literature (available in the book store)

  • Peter H. Lee and Wm. Theodore De Bary (eds.), Sources of Korean Tradition, vol. I/II (available in the bookstore)

References to be found in the Asian Library:

  • Cho, Dong-il & Daniel Bouchez, Histoire de la literature coréenne

  • Kim Hunggyu, Understanding Korean Literature

  • Lee, Peter H., A History of Korean Literature

  • Pratt & Rutt, Korea: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary


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


Dr. E. Veldkamp


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 on this.