SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

K402 Advanced Korean Readings II: Gender, Culture and Society

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1

This module will provide advanced level BA Korean students with an opportunity to put their language skills to use to gain an in-depth understanding of key issues related to gender, culture and society in Korea. Each week the students will have one or two readings in Korean and an additional background reading in English on a particular theme. The readings will come from varied sources, including newspapers, essays, fiction and poetry, as well as other primary sources (speeches, manifestos, declarations) and cultural media. This module complements K401: Korean Advanced Readings I to examine cultural aspects and representations of gender in Korean society across different time periods through readings and discussions of diverse Korean text types.

Each class will consist of a combination of a close reading and translation of one of the texts followed by a discussion of the topic. Where necessary this will be supplemented by a short lecture or introduction to the topic. Students will also be asked to prepare reading grids or commentaries which should form the basis of their discussion in class. At the start of the module students will be given an introduction to finding and using relevant Korean source materials in the library and online. At the end of the module the students will be expected to write an essay on a topic of their choice using Korean-language materials. Diligent assignment preparations and active seminar participation will help students expand their critical knowledge of the topics while furthering their Korean language skills.


K300 level or equivalent

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

1. Read, comprehend and translate advanced level texts in Korean (with the aid of a dictionary).
2. Understand and engage with a range of social, cultural and gender issues in Korea at an in-depth level.
3. Find and select appropriate Korean-language texts from a variety of sources, including online media, archives, books and academic journals.
4. Independently formulate appropriate research questions, propose and evaluate analyses and present evidence.
5. Make use of appropriate Korean-language sources to answer a research question and formulate an argument in an essay.


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The module consists of classes, each on a separate theme or topic that will include:  

  • Cultural memory and identity
  • Confucian culture and the family in Korea
  • Korean feminisms in the modern era
  • Politics of gender in wars, battles and conflict
  • Women and socio-economic development
  • Militarised masculinity
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Representations of gender in Korean literature and cultural media

Method of assessment

A 1,500-2,000 word portfolio of reading commentaries, due on the last day of the term in which the module is taught (30%); a 2,500-3,000 word essay due on day 1 (Monday), week 1 of the following term (60%); a 10-15 minute oral presentation on an assigned text or topic in groups of 2-3, with a hand-out summarising the main points (10%).

Suggested reading

The reading list and materials will be made available on Moodle (BLE) at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules