nl en

Seminar the Long Korean War


Admission requirements

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


Check any history manual and you will find the Korean War neatly framed between 1950 and 1953. This wrongly suggests that wars start when guns are fired. Having the Korean War start in the early hours of 25 June 1950 elopes complex questions about historical causes and mutual responsibility. Making the war end with the armistice on 27 July 1953 equally bypasses the deep scars the war left on Korean society. This seminar looks at the domestic (social and political) origins of the Korean War, its international dimensions and its political, social and cultural legacies.
Topics of particular interest are – The colonial legacy; – Historical legitimacy; – Cold war frontier – Cold war culture – War and statehood – The politis of memory and public amnesia – War atrocities and reconciliation

Course objectives

  • Critical reflection on received historical knowledge;

  • Critical questioning of analytical concepts;

  • Honing debating and writing skills-



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

  • course preparation: 5h/w: 65hrs

  • course attendance: 2h/w: 26 hrs

  • end paper: 50hrs (20hrs proposal; 30hrs paper)

Assessment method

Assessment and grading method (in percentages):.

  • course participation (30%)

  • paper proposal (20%)

  • term paper (50%)

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

The final grade for the course is established by determination of the weighted average combined with the additional requirement that the final paper should be a 6 or higher.



  • syllabus

  • assignments

Reading list

  • Bruce Cumings, The Korean War: A History (Modern Library, 2011)

  • Additional literature in the syllabus on blackboard


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. K. De Ceuster