National Taiwan Normal University Course Outline
Spring , 2024

@尊重智慧財產權,請同學勿隨意影印教科書 。
Please respect the intellectual property rights, and shall not copy the textbooks arbitrarily.

I.Course information
Serial No. 1390 Course Level Undergraduate
Course Code EAU0240 Chinese Course Name 韓國文化與社會
Course Name Culture and Society of Korea
Department Department of East Asian Studies
Two/one semester 1 Req. / Sel. Sel.
Credits 3.0 Lecturing hours Lecture hours: 3
Prerequisite Course
Course Description
Day & Class Period/Location Tue. 6-8 Main Pu 305
Curriculum Goals Corresponding to the Departmental Core Goal
1. have a broad-based understanding of both traditional and contemporary Korean culture, in addition to political, social, and mindset of Korean people and society. College:
 1-5 Within the strategy and knowledge of cross-disciplinary and cross-culture, and cross-disciplinary professional ability of humanities and social sciences
2. enhance their interests and ability to view and analyze Korea and Korean society from their own perspectives, including understanding shifts in culture over time. College:
 1-4 Within the ability of political, social and economical vision and thinking in East Asia regional studies
3. be able to advance structured arguments about Korea, identify the cultural norms behind social and political behavior, College:
 3-1 Within the ability of macroscopic thinking, independent thinking, professional research and critical introspection
4. understanding shifts in culture and tradition overtime, and the dynamic changes that brought to Korean people and society. College:
 3-2 Within the world view and humanistic literacy of respecting and tolerating different cultures

II. General Syllabus
Instructor(s) KEUM HieYeon/ 琴喜淵


Course Schedule

Week 1: Class and Course Introduction

  1. Introduction of the Course
  2. Differences between East and West
  3. “How to make a good presentation?”

Making teams for “Group Presentation and Project”

Students will be divided into groups and each group should have one or more foreign student.

Each presentation should not have more than 30 slides and class presentation should be no longer than 30 minutes including Q&A. Each team should discuss the topic with instructor prior to start. Each slide should not contain too much text.  Be sure that the group project or presentation will be “evaluated as a team.” Rather than putting separate individual works together, real teamwork and collaborative works are strongly required.

Week 2: “Korea A to Z: Understanding Traditional and Modern Korea”

        Lecture 1: “25 Key Words of Korean Society and Culture”

Week 3: “Korea in Traditional Asian Order”

China and Korea in Tributary System and Suzerainty

Korea between China and Japan

Asian Culture? Asian Values?

In Class Discussion on “Asian Values”: Human Rights or Social Order”

  • Read the following articles with a news clip on “Asian Values.” There will be a team discussion on the topic tomorrow. Each team will choose either “He deserves it” or “It is too cruel.”
  1. “American Teen-ager lashed in Singapore arrives home”
  2. Summary note, “Asian Values”
  • Assignment 1: “What are the differences between Han Dynasty and Roman Empire? Compare their political, economic, foreign policies and problems which caused the continuity and collapse. Length: 700 words, Due: Next Week. Proofreading is strongly required.

Week 4: “Brief History of Korea I: Ancient and Premodern Korea”

        Lecture on Brief History and Culture of Korea (PPT)

        History and World View of Korea

                “Shrimp between Whales”

        Power Point: East Asia: Special and Unique?

- Differences in Three Asian Countries: China, Korea, and Japan

Week 5: “Brief History of Korea II: From Kingdom to Modernization under Japanese Colonial Rule”

        Korea from 1392 to 1910: End of Joseon Dynasty and Beginning of Colony


Michael Seth. A Very Short Introduction: Korea. “From Kingdom to Colony,” pp. 47-68.

Tudor, “A Brief History of Korea” (pp. 12-21); Chapter. 5. Capitalism with Korean Face (pp. 66-77)

Week 6: “History of Korea III: Division and War”

        Cold War in Asia

        Division of Korea and Foundation of ROK and DPRK

        Korean War Revisited

  • Assignment 2: “What are the other ‘TWO’ Misperceptions?”

Read “Ten Misperceptions of Koreans and fill in the 8th and 9th misperception. Korean students should pick up either China or Japan, or any other country if you have not visited Japan or China. Due: Next Week.

  1. Entertainment, Korea, “Top 10 Misperceptions of Koreans”
  2. 10 Korean Customs to Know before you visit Korea
  3. Things you may not know about Korea
  4. 10 Korean Customs to know before you visit Korea
  5. “10 Things South Korea Does Better than Anywhere Else”

Remember! All students MUST talk!

Week 7: “Korea in the Era of Industrialization and Democratization”

        Four Asian Tigers and Dictatorial Development under Authoritarian Rule

        Comparison of Taiwan and Korea during the Japanese Colonial Rule, and          Different Paths to Economic Growth

        “Backgrounds for Asian and Korean Miracle”


Week 8: Midterm Exam

        2 hours.

  • The exams will consist of two parts, short identifications, and essay questions. Review questions will be provided prior to the examinations. No makeup exams will be given.

Week 9: Society of Korea: Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism

        Lecture: “Legacies of Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism

Assignment: Read the CNN’s “10 Things South Korea Does Better than Anywhere Else” and write “Top 5 things you like in (about) Korea and Top 5 things you do not like about Korea.” Length: 700 words. Due: Next week.

Week 10: “Culture of Korea: From Religions to Foods”

        Watch Videos: “South Korea: A Nation to Watch”

Assignment 3 (Team Project): Find, visit, and try one or many of Korean foods and share the tastes and experiences of the Korean foods. In addition, explain or analyze why the Korean foods have been widely welcomed by the world. “No Pics No Points” by next week.

Week 11: “Political Culture of Korea: Politics of Mass and Protests

Protests, Riots, Demonstrations, Candlelight Vigil in Korea

Michael Breen. “In Korean Democracy, the People are a wrathful God.” Foreign Policy. December 19, 2016.

From Independence Movement to Democratic Activism during the Authoritarian Rule, to Labor Protests, to Mass political campaign such as Mad-Cow Disease, Killings of 2 Female Schools girls, Candlelight Vigils which led to impeachment of former President Park.


Michael Breen, “In Korean Democracy, The People are a Wrathful God,” Foreign Policy, December 19, 2016.

Jason Strother, “How violent protests in Korea became of thing of the past?” The World, July 2, 2020.

Reading [non-academic]: "Choi Soon-sil Gate: The Saddest Political Drama Ever Told"

Week 12: “Changes in Korean Society: Advent of MZ Generation

Changes in Family Structure: Nuclei Family vs. Big Family?

Lowest Birth Rate and Hight Suicidal Rale

Education and Competition


Kim Keuntae, "Trends and Determinants of Premarital Conception: Love in Korea"

Bonnie Tilland, "Family is Beautiful: The Affective Weight of Mothers-in-Law in Family Talk in South Korea"


Seol Donghoon, "Population Aging and International Migration Policy in South Korea"


  • Class Discussion: Read the newspaper clip, “Beauty through the scalpel-Plastic Surgery in Korea” and write an article with your own argument. Do you think the plastic surgery is necessary? Is it a “unique social symptom” of Korea? What about the other countries?

Week 13: North Korean Defectors: A New Members of Korean Society

        Lecture: Journey to Freedom: Life and Death of North Korean Defectors

Week 14: “Korean Diaspora: Koreans in China, the Soviet Union, and Japan”

Lecture: “Koreans in Manchuria and Stalin’s Deportation of Koreans to Central Asia”

Korean Chinese (朝鲜族): Immigration of Koreans to Northeast China

Tai-Hwan Kwon, “International Migration of Koreans and the Korean Community in China,” Korea Journal of Population and Development. Vol. 26, No. 1 (July 1997),

Goryoin: Deportation of Koreans in the Soviet Union

Memories of Deportation-From the Russian Far East to Central Asia

Week 14: “Korean Wave

Lecture: “Hallyu (韩流,Korean Wave)  and Success Story about K-POP”


The New York Times Magazine. When a Country’s Cuisie Becomes a Cultural Export. Ligaya Mishan. October 12, 2022.

International New York Times. “Travel-A Look at Korea’s Culture from the Bathhouse. February 7, 2014.

                New York Times. Letter From Seoul: About Face. March 16, 2015.



                The Korea Herald. Beauty through the Scalpel. November 29, 2013.



Choe Sang-Hun, “From BTS to ‘Squid Game’: How South Korea Became a Cultural Juggernaut.” The New York Times. November 3, 2021.


Xiaowei Huang, “’Korean Wave’-The Popular Culture, Comes as Both Cultural and Economic Imperialism in the East Asia”

Gunjoo Jang, Won K. Baik, “Korean Wave as Tool for Korea’s New Cultural Diplomacy”

Washington Post, “Chinese Officials Debate Why China Can’t Make a Soap Opera as Good as South Korea’s”

Week 16: Final Exam

        2 hours.

  • The exams will consist of two parts, short identifications, and essay questions. Review questions will be provided prior to the examinations. No makeup exams will be given.


Instructional Approach
Methods Notes
Formal lecture Lectures followed by questions and group discussion. Each student will make an individual or group presentation.
Group discussion Students are required to participate actively the discussion session to exchange and share ideas with others, and to narrow the discrepancies though debates, discussion, and cooperation
Problem-based learning Students are required to conduct research on a various topics related to Korea, Korean society and culture, and draw conclusions through their own methodology that reflects their own views as well as content that meets the purpose of the research.
Cooperative learning In addition to individual class presentation, students must make a team presentation as an outcome of cooperative team project. For this, students shout constantly meet each other to exchange opinions and discuss to efficiently and successfully carry out given tasks. Through this process of cooperation, students learn how to reduce differences while respecting the opinions and opinions of others rather than asserting their own opinions.
Media, audio, visual materials During the semester, students gain a comparative perspective by listening to different views and opinions through videos related to the subject and lectures by eminent scholars.
Case studies Students will conduct case studies on different topics in various fields such as Northeast Asian politics, economy, society and culture, security and foreign policy.
Other: Special lecture by foreign scholars about the specific topic related to the class.
Grading assessment
Methods Percentage Notes
Assignments 15 %  
Midterm Exam 20 % The exams will consist of two parts, short identifications and essay questions. Review questions will be given prior to the examinations. No makeup exams will be given. Adequate class preparation is required and active and volunteered class participation will get extra credits.
Final exam 20 % The exams will consist of two parts, short identifications and essay questions. Review questions will be given prior to the examinations. No makeup exams will be given. Adequate class preparation is required and active and volunteered class participation will get extra credits.
Class discussion involvement 5 % Students are strongly recommended to actively participate the discussion, making comments, and raising questions, in addition to answering the questions given by an instructor.
Attendances 10 % Attendance and participation
Presentation 30 % (1)Class Presentation: 15%. (2)Group Presentation: 15%
Required and Recommended Texts/Readings with References
  1. Daniel Tudor. Korea: The Impossible Country, Tuttle Publishing, 2012.
  2. Michael Breen. The New Koreans: The Story of a Nation. Thomas Dunne Books, 2017.
  3. Donald Stone MacDonald. The Koreans: Contemporary Politics and Society. 2nd edition. Westview Press, 1990.
  4. Michael J. Seth: Brief History of Korea: Isolation, War, Despotism and Revival, Turtle Publishing, 2019.
  5. The National Academy of the Korean Language. An Illustrated Guide to Korean Culture: 233 Traditional Key Words, Seoul: Hakgojae, 2002.


In addition, there will be one or more readings for each class. Articles and papers will be uploaded at my website or will be distributed in class. Students are required to visit regularly the NTNU portal for updating and downloading class materials at MODAL where most of the articles or papers for class will be posted. Course Schedule is subject to change according to the class size and level of understanding. Further notice about the updated syllabus will be provided before class begins.

Copyright © 2024 National Taiwan Normal University.