EAST 501, HIST 867
Modern Korean History Studies: Issues and Methods
This course examines major works in Korean history of the twentieth century, encompassing the colonial period and the Korean War, the First Republic, economic development, and democratization of South Korea, as well as the building of the North Korean state under Kim Il Sung. Within each of the six topics, a seminal work is paired with an enthusiastically received recent study investigating the same question or time period. By critically analyzing and comparing the issues illuminated and methods employed by these studies, the course seeks to discuss the transformations and continuity of perspectives and methodology in the study of modern Korean history.
EAST 502, HIST 890
History of North Korea: Politics, Society, and Culture
This course explores the political, social, and cultural history of North Korea from the origins of the state during the Japanese colonial period to the regime transition in the early twenty-first century. The particular focus is on the factors driving the transformations of North Korea. Nicknamed “the hermit kingdom,” the regime is often commonly perceived as isolated from the outside world. This course seeks to evaluate the importance of external influence and international context at the turning points in North Korean history, which include the establishment of DPRK, its militarization and beginning of nuclear development, Kim Il Sung’s purge of factions and the succession to Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, and other topics. Discussions also analyze the accompanying changes in North Korean society and art. In addition to academic sources, the course utilizes artworks, films, music, historical newspapers, and memoirs. Through the critical examination of the evolution of North Korea, this course situates the country in the region as well as among other authoritarian and communist states.