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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cheolbae Son
HSTAS 482
Seattle Campus

History of Modern Korea: 1860 to the Present

Traditional institutions and society, Japanese colonial rule, liberation and the Korean War, early Korean communist movement, and North Korea and South Korea since 1945.

Class description

This course will trace the history of Korea from its opening to trade and diplomacy in 1876 through the present time. Major topics to be studied and discussed include the Koreans' efforts for independence and modernization after the opening, the establishment of Japanese colonial rule (1910-45), the division of Korea, the causes and consequences of the Korean War (1950-53), and the subsequent development of socialism in the north and bureaucratic capitalism and military dictatorship in the south. It will also discuss the consequences of the collapse of communism everywhere but North Korea and Cuba after 1989, the transition in South Korea from state capitalism to greater freedom and market liberalization, and the economic crisis of 1997-98 and the recovery since, and the transition from political dictatorship to parliamentary democracy. The politics of the first three civilian presidents of South Korea (1993-present) and the ongoing crisis between North Korea and the U.S. over the North's nuclear weapons program will also be discussed as the most recent topics.

Student learning goals

To grasp major political, economic, and social changes in the modern period of Korea.

To cultivate the student's own perspectives on major issues in the history of modern Korea.

General method of instruction

Out of three secessions per week, two will be devoted to lectures, while one will be for question and discussion based on assigned readings.

Recommended preparation

Prior taking of HSTAS 212: History of Korean Civilization is preferred.

Class assignments and grading

Knowledge of assigned reading materials, and informed participation in discussion sessions.

Midterm (20%), Final (40%), and Paper (40%)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cheolbae Son
Date: 02/15/2007