Skip to main content

Taking the recent Korean Wave phenomenon as its point of departure, this course introduces students to the history of transnational imaginations in modern and contemporary Korean culture. Drawing upon literature, film, television, and secondary scholarship, we will explore how a diverse array of Korean cultural producers have used narratives of cross-border travel, migration, and exchange to rethink Korea’s place in the world and refashion Korean identity. In each section of the course, we will consider a different domain or dimension of border-crossing activity: education; labor; migration and diaspora; North-South interactions; war and military; cosmopolitan imaginings and the making of “global Korea.” In so doing, we will learn to think critically about the relationship between works from colonial Korea, postcolonial North Korea, postcolonial South Korea, and the Korean diaspora, and we will also gain a more nuanced understanding of popular culture’s place within its broader social and historical contexts. LA, BN, CI.