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Methods and Issues in Korean Studies


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA students in Korean Studies who successfully completed the BA1 course Koreaanse geschiedenis tot 1876.


This seminar introduces research methods and issues in various fields in Korean Studies through the examination of a range of texts and research practices. The seminar consists of five 2-week modules and students will follow all five modules during the semester. Students will register for a group which has a maximum number of 15 students. Application happens on a first come, first served basis.
The modules cover the following fields:

  • Prof. Dr. Remco Breuker / Korean history: Through a close reading of research articles, history as an academic discipline is mapped. Beyond a discussion of the specific topical issue addressed in the weekly reading, this seminar asks what the questions are that historians ask, and how they frame their questions. What are relevant source materials and what exactly does a historian do with sources? What are the ordering principles and concepts that structure history?

  • Dr. Chris Green / Sociologies of Modern Korea: This course uses a range of research articles to explore themes in the evolution of the post-war North and South Korean societies. As well as investigating the research, the course looks at the methods used: how do others go about answering questions about the driving forces of modern society?

  • Dr. Se Young Jang / International Relations of Korea: What is IR (international relations)? How can Korea’s international relations be analyzed? This module gives an overview of major IR concepts, actors, theories and methodologies and introduces main foreign policy issues of Korea in a globalizing world. By analyzing some research articles with basic knowledge about “methods’ and “issues” of Korean IR, this module also helps students design their future research on IR-related topics.

  • Dr. Jin Hee Park / Korean Linguistics: This module begins with an overview of major approaches to examine Korean language and goes further into research topics and themes closely related to each methodology. The course centers around this question: which component(s) of language structure and/or what aspect(s) of language use does a particular method facilitate researchers to investigate and how?

  • Dr. Elmer Veldkamp / Representations of (South) Korean culture: What is considered to be ‘Korean Culture’ by whom, and how are these perceptions shaped and maintained? This module will explore a range of everyday cultural phenomena and the way they are made to function as indicators of Korean cultural identity.

Each module introduces selected texts or practices and focuses on specific topics and approaches in the above fields. The core concern of this seminar is to investigate what some of the main debates in each field are, and how they can be approached through research. The seminar sessions consist of mini-lectures, class discussions, group and individual presentations, and film viewings (to be decided by the individual instructors).

Course objectives

Oral skills:

  1. to make clear and substantiated arguments;
  2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
  3. to actively participate in class discussion of the presentation

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

  1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
  2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
  3. to critically review and report both orally and in writing on this literature;

Writing skills:

  1. to write up clear and substantiated reading reports;
  2. to answer a research question concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of Instruction

The course consists of two blocks of seminars.

Assessment method


The seminar consists of five parts that are assessed separately. The final grade is the average of the end grade of each block. In order to pass the course, students need a passing grade (5.50 or higher) as the final grade.


  • Assignments (oral, written): 100%.

Specific instructions and requirements for the assignments will be communicated by the individual instructors.


Only students who have complied with the attendance policy and fulfilled all course requirements and assignments, but failed the course with the final grade lower than 5.50 are entitled to a resit. The resit consists of a second attempt for the final assignment of the module(s) which students failed.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 2 weeks after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

Specific readings per week are listed in the course syllabus for each module.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.dr. R.E. Breuker
Dr. C.K. Green
Dr. S.Y Jang
Dr. Jin Hee Park
Dr. E. Veldkamp


  • Attendance policy: a strict attendance policy is imposed. Missing more than three sessions during the semester 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 for extenuating circumstances can only be given following consultation with the coordinator of studies.

  • Deadlines are to be kept. Failure to fulfill the assignments counts as an absence. Late submission of final assignments may result in a grade deduction of 0.5 per day.

  • Students can make an appointment with the instructor to view the assessment of their final assignments within 2 weeks of receiving the grade.