Introduction to Korea through Films


This course explores social, cultural transformations in modern Korea through its recent films.  Having grown to be a major player not only in Asia but also on the international stage in the wake of democratization in the early 1990s, Korean cinema testifies to the liveliness of Korean society today.  Meanwhile, the vitality of contemporary Korean cinema has also much to do with vigorous efforts to reconfigure Korea’s traumatic pasts and new struggles for soul searching in the present as well.  Korean films today thus form a notable reserve for investigating modern history and sociocultural transformations in the Korean peninsula.  Accordingly, students, as watching/discussing an array of carefully selected films, will examine diverse historical and cultural topics such as colonial modernity, the war/national division, authoritarian rule/democratization, national culture, gender formation, Korean diaspora, the global/local dynamic, etc.  Concerned to nurture both the basic knowledge of modern Korea and the skills of critical thinking, this course is organized into a combination of lectures, screenings and discussions (both in class and online).  All readings are in English and all films have English subtitles. No knowledge of Korean is required.

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