The Korean War (1950-53)
Starting from domestic strife, the Korean War engaged superpowers like China, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, inflicting millions of human casualties and tremendous loss of property. As the single most important event in the history of modern Korea, the Korean War left a number of important legacies which had lasting effects on the subsequent political and economic developments in both the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia. This course will consider the many aspects of the Korean War, including the domestic origins of the war, the involvement of superpowers, the course of the battle, the reforms during the war, the armistice negotiations, problems of civilian victims and war prisoners, controversies on the motivations and responsibilities for the war, and consequent reflections on the war and human nature in literature and films. The class will meet once a week for about two hours for questions and discussions based on assigned readings on all of these subjects. Literary works and films will also be used. The course will have a final examination, and each student will choose a topic of particular interest on which to do extensive research, make an oral presentation, and write a 10-15 page paper.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Questions and discussions about major topics, and comments on the student's oral presentation
Previous coursework in Korean history is preferred.
Class assignments and grading
Class discussion based on reading assignments, an oral presentation of the paper in progress, and the final research paper.
Oral presentation counts 20 %, final exam 40 %, and the paper 40 %.