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Culture & Society: Transnational Korea


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA3 Korean Studies students who obtained the propaedeutic diploma and successfully completed all courses of BA1 and BA2.


The popular perception of North Korea as the infamous ‘hermit kingdom’ is surprisingly persistent. The DPRK is often perceived as a secluded, rogue nation without any friends on the international stage. In this course we look beyond the façade of this isolationist paradigm and examine the multitude of ties that bind North Korea with the rest of the world. A wide range of topics will be discussed, ranging from North Korea’s support of African liberation movements to the presence of forced labourers in the European Union, and ranging from arms trade to money laundering. Students are encouraged to critically reflect upon popular assumptions of North Korea (both inside and outside academia) and write a paper on a particular aspect of the DPRK’s international relations of their choosing.

Course objectives

This course has three main goals:
1. To question any presuppositions regarding North Korea’s position in the world
2. To develop an independent research project, focusing on any aspect of North Korea’s international relations
3. To provide detailed and nuanced readings of the course materials


See for more information the Timetable

Mode of instruction

Seminar, Lecture, Research

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 5 EC = 140 Hours

Assessment method

Final grades will be determined by the following criteria:

  • Written paper of ca. 200-2500 words (60%)

  • 6 assignments: short written reflections on the required reading (20%)

  • Class participation (10%)

  • Oral presentation (10%)

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient. Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days of the announcement of the assessment grades in order to discuss their work.


Yes. Blackboard will be used for delivery of relevant reading materials and submission of assignments.

Reading list

A reading list will be included in the syllabus to be uploaded on blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


T. van der Hoog MA


A strict attendance policy is imposed. Missing more than three sessions gets you barred from further attending the course and your papers may not be graded. Any absences must be notified in advance. Dispensation from the attendance rule is possible in consultation with the coordinator of studies and for valid reasons only.