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Topical Reading: Korea Encounters the World


Admission requirements

This course is only available for BA3 students in Korean Studies who have successfully completed all the requirements for BA1 and BA2 and plan to write BA theses in Spring 2023.


This course is an introductory class to help BA3 students prepare for their BA theses in a broadly-defined field of Korea’s international relations (IR). The potential topics for BA theses include diverse forms of South Korea’s bilateral, regional and global/transnational relations from 1945 up until today. South Korea has experienced a drastic transformation of its status in the world from a devastated country right after the Korean War to one of the world leaders in various fields in recent decades. The transformation of Korea’s role and status on the world stage has not only been led by its own endeavor but also by the change of external environment: for instance, the rise and fall of the Cold War. This course thus intends to examine both internal and external drivers of this transformation as well as some key issue areas (such as Korea’s bilateral relations with US, China and Japan, military/security, economy/trade, regional/multilateral diplomacy, democracy, and public/cultural diplomacy) in which South Korea has been deeply involved. Through extensive reading and discussion, this course helps students strengthen their knowledge about the causes, process and consequences of Korea’s encounter with the world, thereby enabling them to discover a research topic in IR and formulate a detailed research question and plan for their theses.

This course (36 hours in total), which is designed for co-teaching with Digital Humanities, divides into two separate sections. The first section is composed of weekly topical seminars on Korea’s international relations (2 hours x 12 weeks, 24 hours in total). The second section is organized by Digital Humanities which requires students to attend Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics I) for 12 hours in the first block (2 hours x 6 weeks) and learn about basic principles and methods of quantitative analysis in the humanities. Attending the Digital Humanities course is not mandatory in the second block.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • Advance knowledge related to the themes of this course;

  • Identify and familiarize with academic debates in the themes of this course;

  • Learn and apply various research methodologies;

  • Critically analze written, audio and visual materials both in English and Korean;

  • Develop academic writing & individual or group presentation skills;

  • Find and formulate a research topic/question for a BA thesis;

  • Develop a preliminary research design for a BA thesis


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Assessment method


This course consists of three parts that are assessed as below. The final mark is determined by the weighted average of the three assessment criteria.


  1. Participation (15%)
  2. Group Project on Research Methods (25%)
  3. Final Paper (60%)


To pass the course, students must receive an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher and a passing grade for the final paper assignment (5.5 or higher). Students who failed the course (receiving an overall mark of 5.49 [=5] or lower) or who failed the final paper assignment (5.49 or lower) must take a resit. The resit consists of a revised and expanded version of the final paper.

Inspection and feedback

Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days after the publication of their final grades in order to review the grades.

Deadlines and extensions: if you foresee that you will not be able to keep a deadline because of extenuating circumstances, contact your instructor well 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

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


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • 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 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.

  • Deadlines are to be kept. Late submission of final assignments may result in a grade deduction of 0.5 per day.

  • Dispensation from the attendance policy for extenuating circumstances can only be granted by the Board of Examiners after consultation with the coordinator of studies.

Important information for students wishing to finish both block 1 and block 2 of ‘Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics 1)’ and be credited accordingly.
While ‘Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics 1)’ is 5 EC in total, 2.5 EC of this is incorporated in the Topical Reading course. The other 2.5 EC can however be received by students that finish both block 1 and block 2 of ‘Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics 1)’. Students that wish to receive this other 2.5 EC, can request this it to be listed as an extracurricular course. For this to be processed, students will have to follow the steps below:

  1. Students should ask for an exemption regarding ‘Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics 1)’ for block 1 to the Board of Examiners of the BA Taalwetenschap (Linguistics):; for more information on this request see the following link.
  2. Once the grade/exemption is registered, students should submit a request to list the ‘Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics 1)’ course as an extracurricular course on the diploma supplement to the Board of Examiners of Asian Studies:; for more information on this request see the following link.