UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

ASIA3006 Contemporary Korean Society

Credit 6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodHong Kong - ArtsFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Korean Studies major sequence
  • Level 3 option in the Asian Studies major sequence
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Science students
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Arts students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 3 elective
Content This unit examines major social, political and economic developments that have taken place in twentieth-century Korea, and the challenges and opportunities that these have created for the two Koreas. Students evaluate how the combination of indigenous philosophical traditions, the legacy of Japanese colonialism and the presence of US military forces on the peninsula, the civil war and the influx of competing Cold War ideologies have shaped contemporary South and North Korean societies. The unit also investigates national identity discourses and ideas of ethnic 'Koreanness' in a divided (and increasingly multi-ethnic) country. Special attention is also given to conceptualisations of gender, body and sexuality that draw on both 'traditional' and more recent neo-liberal discourses of the same, and how these inform such increasingly commonplace bodily practices such as cosmetic surgery, as well as cultural representations of gender and subjectivity in popular culture. Special attention is also given to the various domains of daily life and interpersonal relations in order to examine how culturally-specific social structures, such as generation, kinship and perceived social status, affect patterns of interpersonal communication. By providing students with a variety of contemporary cultural theories as a 'thinking apparatus', the unit encourages students to engage with theory when examining contemporary Korean society in order to evaluate and explain why many of these issues and phenomena cannot be explained simply in terms of Western epistemologies.

Throughout the unit, students are encouraged to actively engage in class through seminar discussions, symposia simulations, presentations and interactive classroom exercises and design a short in-depth research project on a relevant topic of their choice. The unit is taught entirely in English, and no prior knowledge of Korean language is assumed.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) compare South Korea's development of 'compressed modernity' with the modernisation and industrialisation processes in Western post-industrial societies, and apply this critical understanding to their own societies, thereby demonstrating 'ethical sensitivity towards our diverse and globalised world'; (2) describe key events and ideologies that informed the development of the two Koreas in the post-war period, identify and explain how gendered discourses of power and class interpellate individuals within society, as well as apply relevant theoretical frameworks to analyse these in the context of a research project assignment; (3) devise a research topic, identify a research topic and develop an effective line of argument and present it in a convincing manner; (4) use evidence appropriately in support of an argument, analyse and synthesise relevant data from different sources, and critique consulted literature; (5) with some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry used within social sciences and prioritise conclusions they reach from an analysis of variety sources, giving reasons; (6) apply knowledge of Korean society acquired through the unit to their Korean language study (where applicable); (7) utilise and apply digital fluency gained through preparing for assessment of the unit; (8) use a self-reflective approach to devising, developing and delivering an enquiry-based research project, present their findings orally and in academic English, and work collaboratively within a group with an ability to deal with disagreement and conflict to reach consensus (social-emotional learning); and (9) acknowledge used source styles accurately, within the text for all sources used.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) group work; (2) research project; and (3) participation (which may include an online component). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Joanna Elfving-Hwang (Crawley and Hong Kong), Caleb Kelso-Marsh (Hong Kong)
Unit rules
Prerequisites: any ASIA unit or any KORE unit or any Level 2 Humanities or Social Sciences unit
Incompatibility: KORE3812 Contemporary Korean Society
Contact hours Workshops: 2 hrs per week (over 10 weeks from week 1, see unit outline for further details). This unit also includes an online component.
Unit OutlineSemester 1 : http://www.unitoutlines.arts.uwa.edu.au/Units/ASIA3006/SEM-1/2017
TS-QTR-A1 : http://www.unitoutlines.arts.uwa.edu.au/Units/ASIA3006/TS-QTR-A1/2017

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