Travelig Seminar: Japan-Korea
Credits: 2
Seminar Lecturer: Dr. Jooyeon Rhee and Professor Nissim Otmazgin.

The seminar is designed for third year students majoring in Japanese Studies and third year students minoring in Korean Studies. It offers these students to learn about political and cultural connections between Japan and Korea from pre-modern to modern times though the latter will be emphasized. Furthermore students had the chance to travel to major historical sites in Japan and Korea. Japan and Korea are major players in contemporary East Asia that influence global economy, politics, and security; and it is important to understand their relations from a comparative and historical perspective in order to enhance our knowledge about their culture and society.


Gender and Sexuality in Korean Literature and Film
Credits: 2
Seminar Lecturer: Dr. Jooyeon Rhee

This seminar examines the formation of gender roles and relations in modern Korea (including North Korea) at the intersections of sexuality, family, class, and age, using a close reading of some of the representative literary and cinematic works that have been produced since the early twentieth century in Korea. It provides the social, political, and economic history of modern Korea in which the construction and dissemination of hegemonic notions of masculinity and femininity were produced; and examines how these notions are explored critically and artistically in literature and cinema.


Nation, Gender and Family in Korean and Japanese Literature
Credits: 2
Seminar Lecturer:  Dr. Jooyeon Rhee

This seminar is designed to examine historical changes in Korea and Japan that influenced literary expressions of gender role and identity within the broad context of nationalism and colonialism. It aims to understand socio-political structures that shaped gender roles and identity; and to see how writers in Korea and Japan responded to the socio-political reality through creative means.


Korea’s Soft Power
Credits: 2
Seminar Lecturer:  Dr. Dmitry Mironenko

Today the Korean peninsula is widely known for its cultural exports both in Asia and around the globe, whether it is Seoul’s TV dramas and K-pop or Pyongyang’s mass game spectaculars and juche philosophy. This course examines the cultural politics of the two Koreas and the history behind them through the lens of Joseph Nye’s concept of ‘soft power’ by looking at the role they played in the foreign relations with other countries. Focusing primarily on the politics of identity and self-representation across the media beginning from the oral tradition up to the emergence of contemporary Internet communities, this class traces Korea’s search for its special place within the modern world through a critical assessment of major events, texts, and debates on topics ranging from the creation of modern Korean literature and language to the rise of independent filmmaking and one of the world’s largest plastic surgery industries in the South, and from the making of Kim Il Sung’s personality cult to the advent of the new rich and the fledgling culture of consumerism in the North. The topics are studied in conjunction with seminal readings in critical theory, cultural studies, and international relations.


Sex and War: Koreans in World History
Credits: 2
Seminar Lecturer:  Dr. Dmitry Mironenko

The seminar offers a structured weekly reading and discussion in English of key topics in modern Korean historiography for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Targeting two distinct audiences, this course is designed to engage both students of Korea, as well as anyone interested in the field of cultural studies more generally. As such, the seminar has two interrelated goals: the first is to explore the themes of war and sex as broad, yet useful and productive categories of cultural analysis; the second objective being to examine the role of gender and violence specifically within the Korean context in order to develop a deeper understanding of how the complex interplay of these forces has shaped Korea’s unique journey into modernity. Moving chronologically, each week we will examine a historically situated study of a specific question or a larger problematic at the intersection of these two analytical rubrics as conceived by various disciplinary and methodological approaches.