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Mediating the Koreas through Popular Culture: Music, Cinema, and Cyberspace

Course Number: KOREAN 5256 (OSU); KOR 498 (PSU); EAS 301-003 (UW)

Times: Wednesday & Friday, 2:20-3:40pm (ET)

Instructor: Pil Ho Kim,

This is an introductory course for undergraduate students of all levels who are interested in how popular culture has been mediating Korea in the modern era and the complex, often tormented relationship between North and South Korea since the national division. In particular, we will focus on South Korea’s newfound soft power and its global impact that reaches even North Korea. In addition to academic texts, this course will make use of a wealth of materials from popular literature, music, film, TV dramas, cartoon, animation, internet and sports.

Through the lens of popular culture, we can observe how the nation responded to the inroads of modern western culture during the early modern period; how the politics of the Cold War and American hegemony affected them; how Korean popular culture has evolved and adapted to the rapid economic development and social changes in the postwar period. In terms of both export industry and lifestyle practice, the South Korean pop culture phenomenon – commonly known as the ‘Korean Wave’ or Hallyu – has come to enjoy global recognition. We will also compare and contrast North Korea’s self-image with popular cultural representations of North Korea by the South Korean media and the Hollywood/western media.

Hosting University: Ohio State University

Participating Universities: Penn State University; University of Wisconsin

Academic Calendar: Unless specified by the course instructor, the course will follow the host campus’ academic calendar.