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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Clark W. Sorensen
SISEA 584
Seattle Campus

Survey of Korean Society

Introduction to the social and political institutions of North and South Korea with an opportunity to master the most important literature on modern Korea. Focuses on the twentieth century with the major emphasis on the post-1945 period. Offered: A.

Class description

This course is designed to provide graduate students in Korean Regional Studies with mastery of some of the major social science literature on Korea, and to provide them with the opportunity to hone their writing skills in preparation for later seminar papers required for graduation. Other graduate students with an interest in Korea, or advanced undergraduates, may take the course with the instructor's permission.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course is held in conjunction with SISEA/ANTH 448; Modern Korean Society. Students will be expected to attend lectures and complete requirements for that course. Students in SISEA 584 will be excused from SISEA/ANTH 448 discussion sections so as to concentrate on more sophisticated and detailed discussion of assigned works in class discussions held once a week. Two analytic papers will be required.

Recommended preparation

No previous preparation in Korean Studies or social science is assumed. The more background students have on Korea and East Asia, however, the easier the course will be. For those totally unfamiliar with Korean topics reading short histories and/or other social science works prior to enrollment in class can be helpful. Recommended are: Eckert, et al. "Korea Old and New: A History," the Library of Congress Federal Research Office Area Handbooks on North and South Korea, the most recent "Korea Briefing" published in cooperation with The Asia Society, or any of the recent monographs on Korea in anthropology, history, political science, or sociology. Journals such as "Asian Survey" and "Far Eastern Economic Review" publish annual summaries of political and other events in Korea (and elsewhere in Asia). General familiarity with the theory and terminology of one of the social sciences can also be helpful.

Class assignments and grading

This discussion section will meet once a week to discuss assigned readings. Students should have read and thought about the works in advance. Willingness to participate in class discussion is an important quality. Two papers will be assigned; one will be rewritten.

Grades will be assigned according to achievement in SISEA/ANTH 448 and the discussion section papers. Participation in class discussion will be an important consideration.


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 Myrna Torrie
Date: 06/10/1998