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Topical Reading: Women in Korean History


Admission requirements

This working group is intended as a stepping stone to the thesis. That is why only students who have successfully completed all subjects of BA2 are admitted to this working group.


This seminar examines Korean women in historical perspective. The major focus of the seminar is on the various cultural, religious, political and economic factors that have shaped womanhood and have brought about changes to women’s roles and status. To observe major changes to women’s place in Korean society requires dividing Korean history into three periods: the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) when Confucian gender ideologies prevailed; the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) during which women ventured into new areas while negotiating their agenda with the independence movement; and, the post-Independence period (1945-present) that has been marked by the division into North Korea and South Korea as well as rapid political, economic and social changes in South Korea. Throughout the semester, students will consider how social structures and cultural practices have affected women and also how women themselves have struggled for equal rights and opportunities. Students will examine a variety of texts and Korean-text sources with the aim of investigating the continuity and change in women’s lives in Korea.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • comprehend historical changes in women’s status in Korea;

  • relate Korean women’s variegated experiences to specific historical contexts;

  • understand Korean women’s history in light of a broader regional and global context;

  • develop analytical skills in examining the intersections of gender, class and other identities; and,

  • Read and discuss Korean-language sources for academic purposes.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

  1. Participation (15%);
  2. Group Presentation (25%);
  3. Final Paper (60%).

The final mark of the course is achieved by (i) determination of the weighted average based on partial marks in combination with (ii) the additional requirement that the work must always be a pass.


Only the essay can be retaken. Only those students who have passed all partial assignments will be admitted to the resit.

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



Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.



Total study load (10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours):

  • Attending lectures: 39 hours (3 hours/week)

  • Study the English literature: 91 hours (7 hours/week)

  • Reading the Korean-language sources: 50 hours (4 hours/week)

  • Preparing the lecture assignments: 10 hours

  • Group project: 40 hours

  • Final essay: 50 hours

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.