01:574:220 Introduction to Korean Literature in Translation 

This course introduces major works, genres, and waves of Korean cinema from the Japanese occupation period to the present. This class helps students gain aesthetic responsiveness and interpretative ability to film as a popular art that both shapes and is shaped by the unfolding negotiations with tradition, and political, social and cultural lives. How does cinema register Korea’s experiences with modernity, colonialism, post-colonialism, national division, and the Cold War? How do films engage with questions of class, gender, nation, migration, diaspora and globalization? The course will move in historical sequence from the 1930s, covering major works of each decade, with a sustained focus on contemporary South Korean cinema during the second half of the semester.

Typically up to two unexcused absences are allowed without penalty. Students who have extenuating circumstances owing to health reasons or family emergencies should communicate the situation with the instructor (me) prior to your expected absence, when possible. *For ease of record-keeping, please include "attendance" in the subject line of your email. Bonus: If you achieve perfect attendance, you will receive two additional points added to your final average. If you have one absence, you will have one point added. For these considerations, I do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences.

During each 3-hour session, there will be two teams of 2-3 presenters.

  • Team A will present on the reading(s) during the first half of the class.
  • Team B will present on the assigned film during the second half of the class.

Towards the end of class, there will be a "Roundtable" where Team A and Team B sit down together. The other students in class and I will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the day's presenters. Out of each 3-hour session, Presentations and Roundtable will take around 1-hour, which means good preparation will be essential to a productive session for all.

While each student will receive an individual grade based on the rubric below, good communication within the team will be essential for a substantive, coherent, and engaging presentation. Students may elect to produce a video beforehand to play, in lieu of presenting in real-time. Either way, all students are required to engage in the Roundtable in real-time.

*Every student must sign up for 5 scheduled responses at the beginning of the semester.

Rubric for Biweekly Responses:

  • 5 points Engages key points of the reading assignment; raises thought-provoking questions; applies ideas found in the reading to familiar concrete examples in the assigned film, make connections to previous readings and/or uses technical film terminology; written clearly and with minimal typos.
  • 4 points Achieves two or three of the above goals, with interesting analysis of a specific scene or sequence in the film; written clearly and with minimal typos.
  • 3 points Achieves one or two of the above goals; mostly repeats what is stated in the reading assignment and/or summarizes the plot of the film without analyzing how it's put together; shows uneven grasp of the material; some errors at the level of mechanics.
  • 2 points Demonstrates poor understanding of the assignment; repeated errors at the level of mechanics.
  • 0 points Nothing posted.

Grading: Presentation 10%, Reading Responses 30%, Midterm Project 20%, Final Projects 30%