HIS 195B: Modern Korean History
History 195B provides an introduction to the history of modern Korea. We will survey political, socioeconomic and cultural developments in the last 150 years of Korean history, from the decline and collapse of the late Chosŏn Korea to today. Main topics examined in the course include: socioeconomic and political changes in late nineteenth-century Korea; growth of nationalism and reform movements; modernization under the Japanese colonial empire in the first half of 20th century; decolonization and the Korean War; postwar economic growth and effects of the Cold War, including the establishment of separate regimes and North and South Korea; and the more recent success of the “Korean Wave” in East Asia and the rest of the world. History 195B, unlike many courses like it offered elsewhere, does not dwell all the time on the political and economic history or history of foreign relations: it incorporates recent advances in various disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and women’s studies into its lectures and reading materials, and spends much time with the concrete lives, social interactions and cultural expressions of ordinary Koreans, not just elite intellectuals or heroic nationalist figures.