nl en

Divided Korea


Admission requirements

Admission to BA Korea/Japan/China Studies and BA International Studies students only and only those who successfully completed Methods and Issues in Korean Culture, with a maximum of 20 students.


This seminar discards the conventional reading of mutually exclusive South Korean and North Korean histories. Starting from the simple point that the division of Korea is an exceedingly recent historical fact, we explore how the social, political and cultural development of each Korean state and society can only be fully understood when taking into account: (1) the challenges posed by the other Korean state and society; and (2) the challenges posed to both Koreas at the same time by trends in world history.

Using readings drawn from Korea’s contemporary social, political and cultural history, we pay specific attention to how the two states have dealt with the challenge of existing alongside one another since liberation from Japanese rule at the end of WWII.

The seminar serves as an opportunity for critical reflection on the ordering principles of history and how unspoken concepts may influence how history is written. In doing so, we learn to critically think about the nature and results of historical research.

Course objectives

This course has three main goals: (1) to deepen the understanding of South and North Korea’s entangled contemporary history; (2) to develop the analytical skills of students through close readings of textual and visual materials; and (3) to develop reporting and presentation skills.


For more information see: Timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load for the course: 140 hours.

Assessment method

Final grades are determined by the following formula:

  • Active Class Participation: 40%
    Attendance & active participation in class discussions (10%)
    Classroom debate (15%)
    Weekly postings (15%)

  • Paper Assignment: 60%
    Paper proposal – 1,500 words (10%)
    Final Research Paper – 3,500 words (50%)

Attendance policy: a strict attendance policy is imposed. Missing more than three sessions gets you barred from further attending the course and your papers may not be graded. Any absences must be notified in advance. Dispensation from the attendance rule is possible in consultation with the coordinator of studies and for valid reasons only.

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 (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.


Distribution of reading materials, weekly postings, submission of assignments, group discussion. Blackboard.

Reading list

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

Don Oberdorfer and Robert Carlin, The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History (New York: Basic Books, 2013)

Recommended reading:
Online: Modern Korean History Portal, hosted by the Wilson Center Digital Archive:


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


Dhr. C.K. Green MA


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(s). 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: Mw. S. Kraakman