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Topical Reading: Nation Branding Past and Present


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 the following spring 2023..


Brief introductory description of the course. Please include course subject and teaching materials used.
This course approaches the concept of the Korean nation as a “brand” from a multi-disciplinary angle, drawing upon examples from the early medieval period to present-day Korea. It will engage with various mechanisms that serve to highlight or magnify specific characteristics or images of the Korean nation to the outward and inner audience. Nation branding often connects to existing stereotypes that can be reinforced or corrected. This also encourages reflection on prevalent notions on what could be called ‘the Korean success story’ and the development of the narrative. Throughout this course, students will engage with the paradigm of nation branding to investigate processes of Korean image-making in the various fields of Korean history, society, culture, and politics. These reflections on the ‘(re)invention of Korea’ will encourage new perspectives on existing fields of interest that can be explored in the process of writing a BA thesis.

By engaging with English-language scholarship, the students will be encouraged to reflect on the utilization of nation branding, the role of the state, and how the concept can help us shed new light on various issues in the field of Korean Studies. At the same time, basic knowledge of diverse periods of Korean history will be fostered to enable a wide range of possible topics for a BA thesis. Lastly, encounters with Korean-language material will help develop essential skills for working with primary sources and provide insights into inner-Korean perspectives.

Course objectives

Concise description of the course objectives formulated in terms of knowledge, insight and skills students will have acquired at the end of the course. The relationship between these objectives and achievement levels for the programme should be evident.

  • to advance knowledge related to the themes of this course and related academic debates;

  • to learn various research methodologies;

  • to develop critical reading skills of written and visual materials (both in English and Korean);

  • to acquire advanced academic writing skills;

  • to practice group presentation skills using written, visual and/or audio sources

  • to find and formulate a research topic/question for a BA final paper (thesis);


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Please indicate here how the course is assessed.

Possibilities (Note that in case of mid-term examinations the weighting must be specified and how the final mark is established):

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)

  • Written examination with short open questions

  • Written examination with essay questions

  • Take home examination/assignment

  • Active Participation/coöperation in class/group

  • Essay, paper

  • Oral examination

  • Abstract, oral presentation.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average
the final mark for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements. These additional requirements generally relate to one or more of the subtests always be sufficient

Please describe how the resit will be arranged. The resit may consist of the same subtests as the first opportunity, but this is not compulsory. The alternative is to combine subtests for the resit. Offering a resit is mandatory.


  • Participation (15%);

  • Final Presentation (25%);

  • 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 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 paper assignment must take a resit. The resit consists of a research paper of 5,000 words (worth 100% of the grade).

The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years. 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.



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 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

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


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte en 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


As is the case for all Korean Studies courses, a strict attendance policy will be enforced. Attendance to all lectures and seminars is expected. Failure to attend results in a lower grade. If you do not attend more than three classes, you will not be able to continue attending the classes and your exam and/or paper may not be graded by the instructor. If you have a valid reason not to attend, you may get dispensation from this rule, but you have to consult the coordinator of studies on this.

  • Dispensation from the attendance policy for extenuating circumstances can only be granted by the Board of Examiners.