Course Details

Title The Rise of the Korean Wave (Mixed)
Field of Study Economics, Korean studies, Media
Professor David A Tizzard (
Type Academic course
Credits 3
Contact hours 45
Schedule Session A
Course code ISS1138
Course number 18533

As a post-colonial and post-authoritarian democracy, Korea has risen from a war-torn country to a cultural and economic powerhouse in a relatively short period of time. Undoubtedly one of the reasons for its success has been the Korean Wave (Hallyu). This course charts its origins, its growth, and the sudden explosion in the 21st century with acts such as BTS, BLACKPINK, and the film-making of Bong Joon-ho.


The course is designed to achieve the following fundamental objectives:
1. Understand the origins and development of the Korean Wave
2. Examine how the Korean Wave has shaped the identity and image of Koreans both domestically and abroad
3. Analyze the role of capitalism and consumerism in the Korean Wave
4. Determine how issues of sexuality and gender in a bourgeoning post-authoritarian democracy shape the music and movies
5. Critically assess the symbolism and messages in a variety of K-pop videos and movies vis-à-vis the concept of modernity


*Pre-Knowledge: Students are not required to have a great deal of knowledge before starting the class. Providing they have an open-mind and a desire to learn, they will be ready to begin. Of course, an interest in culture and sociology will be of some benefit.

*Textbook/Materials: All materials will be supplied by the professor. They will be a combination of academic articles, newspaper articles, documentaries, and YouTube videos.

Lesson Plan
Class 1: The Birth of the Korean Wave - The origins and development of the Korean Wave. - A discussion of the birth of modern Korean movies, music, and culture. - Charting political, economic, and historical catalysts. Reading Material: Biploar Orders by Hyun Gu Lynn (Pages 70-82)
Class 2: Creating The “K” in K-Pop - Investigation of what it means to be Korean - A sociological look at the nature of identity as defined in the modern age - Analyzing the “other” Reading Material: What is the K in K-pop? By John Lie
Class 3: Regulating Korean Cultural Lives - How a post-authoritarian and Confucian tradition affects modern Korean cultural outputs such as movies and music - Discussion of cultural phenomena such as gapjil (갑질) and han (한/恨) Reading Material: Regulating the Idol: The Life and Death of a South Korean Popular Music Star by CedarBough T. Saeji et al
Class 4: The Philosophy of BTS - Modern K-pop, existential Koreans, and Jungian archetypes - A discussion on the rise of BTS and why they succeeded where many others failed Reading Material: The Philosophy of BTS: K-Pop, Pop Art, and the Art of Capitalism by Heidi Samuelson
Class 5: Gender and the Korean Wave - Analyzing music videos and the presentation of gender and sexuality in Korean culture. - Discussion of patriarchy, misogyny, the Lolita complex, androgyny, and objectification - Application of Erving Goffman’s framework Reading Material: Gender Advertisements by Erving Goffman
Class 6: The Rise of Korean Cinema - Critical success in movies as contrasted to the commercial success of K-pop - How Korean auteurs experience more freedom than their counterparts - Reimagining history and modernity through film YouTube Interview: A Film Critic who Promotes Korean Movies by Darcy Parquet
Class 7: North Korea and the Korean Wave - Communicating with North Korea through culture - Shaping identities of North and South through movies and dramas - The growth of North Korean social media Reading Material: Discursive Construction of Hallyu in North Korea in South Korean News Media by Kyong Yoon and Crash Landing on You (사랑의 불시착)
Class 8: Korean Dramas and the Creation of Cool - Social issues of modernity (transgenderism, racism, homosexuality, abortion) presented as drama - Domestic and international reactions to projected social values and morality - Post-modern Korea and the Netflix generation Material: Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰)
Class 9: Ethno-Nationalism and Diasporic Youth Culture - The Korean diaspora shaping domestic values - The role of ethno-nationalism in modern Korea Reading Material: Diasporic Youth Culture of K-pop by Kyong Yoon
Class 10: Two Part Final Exam: - Student Presentations - Student Discussion
Last Updated October 14, 2020
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