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Seminar Leiden Initiative on Northern Korea


Admission requirements

Successfull completion of modern Korean/East Asian history; Ideally, you also attended Divided Korea (BA2).


It could be said that Korea is a twin—North and South Korea. They are twins not only in the sense that they share one language, history and the like, but also in that they share one peninsula or social body; their fates have been deeply entangled from the very beginning. In other words, a shift is needed in Korean Studies—from ‘boundary politics’ towards ‘twin politics’. In the academic community, however, one part of this twin seems to have been regarded disproportionately as the Hermit Kingdom.

Against this backdrop, the course engages in Leiden Initiative on Northern Korea (Leiden iNK, launched in 2012), which is largely concerned with contextual approaches. Leiden iNK situates North/Northern (before 1945) Korea within the field of Critical Area Studies, of which the Humanities are an integral and essential part. It acknowledges North Korean agency and seeks to question taken-for-granted political, historical and theoretical boundaries.

Course objectives

  • Obtaining a contextualised knowledge of Northern/North Korea

  • Exploring situated scholarship in Korean/Asian Studies

  • Formulating independent agendas and ideas

  • Developing writing and presentation skills



Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

  • Total workload 140 hours;

  • Contact hours: 2 hours per week X 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Preparation: 4 hours per week X 13 weeks = 52 hours

  • Preparing presentation= 12 hours

  • Essay: 50 hours

Assessment method

  • Essay 40%

  • Presentation 40%

  • Attendance and participation 20%

Resit: students who fail the course (a grade below a 5.5) may resit the essay if they have participated in the presentation.


Blackboard will be used

Reading list


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University. General information about the Registration procedure

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Dhr. Dr. S. Park-Kang