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Modern Korean History


Admission requirements

Excellent reading, listening, and writing skills in English.


This course constitutes an overview of the history and historiography of Korea after 1876. It deals with the political, economic and social reforms implemented in Korea from the middle of the 19th century. The central themes are imperialism and colonization, nationalism and modern nation-building, collaboration and resistance, national division and the Cold War. The course thus arms the student with a baseline of knowledge and the necessary context to inform their future studies.

Parallel to the course lectures, a regular tutorial is provided for students of Korean Studies by a teaching assistant (TA) in which the material is further discussed. Discussion of and instructions about the course assignments will also be discussed here.

Course objectives

This course has four primary objectives:

  • Establish baseline knowledge of the modern history of Korea;

  • Introduce divergent interpretations of that modern history;

  • Cultivate critical approaches to concepts salient to modern Korean history; and

  • Learn sensitive handling of primary documents.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Tutorials

Assessment method


  • Assignment (30%);

  • Written exam with open questions (70%)


The final mark for this course is the weighted average of all test components. The written exam must be completed with a pass (5.50 and higher).


Only those students who have participated in all parts of the lecture will be admitted to the resit. The resit consists of a written exam with open questions worth 100% of the course grade.

Inspection and feedback

Information concerning exam review meetings will be released alongside the exam results at the latest. Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days of the announcement of the exam grades in order to view their exam.

Deadlines and extensions

If you foresee that you will not be able to keep a deadline because of extenuating circumstances, contact your instructor in advance (at least one week before the deadline). For extensions beyond the end of the semester, please contact your instructor and the study coordinator and file a request with the Board of Examiners at least one week before the original deadline

Reading list

There is one course text, which is available digitally via the university library:

  • Buzo, A. (2017). The making of modern Korea (3rd ed.). London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    Students will also gain from consulting the following text:

  • Seth, M. J. (2016). Routledge handbook of modern Korean history. London; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    Addional readings are listed where applicable in the course syllabus, which will be distributed in the period immediately preceding the beginning of the class.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.
Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


Attendance to all lectures and seminars is expected. You are advised to inform the instructor in advance if you will be absent.