Study abroad in Edinburgh

Course finder

Semester 1

Korean History, Culture, and Society (ASST10154)


Asian Studies





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Visiting students must have a strong background in the subject area, equivalent to 4th year UoE degree students. You must contact the course organiser for the course to seek their permission to enrol in the course, then send that written confirmation to the Visiting Student Office for consideration.

Course Summary

The nineteenth century saw a dramatic reversal of fortunes for Korea. From the longest-ruling dynasty in East Asia (518 years), the demise of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) precipitated the loss of national sovereignty as Korea was colonized by Japan. Subsequent events - including colonial industrialization, the struggle for independence, and the division of the peninsula into North and South - have only added to the challenge of evaluating the legacies of the Choson dynasty. How did Confucianism influence Korean society? Why did Korea fail to maintain its sovereignty in the nineteenth century? What are the roots of capitalism in Korea? What set North Korea on a different trajectory than the South? This course answers these questions through a survey of the major historical issues that have shaped Korean society and culture from the early modern period through to the present. As well as covering developments in Choson society and Korea's turbulent experience of imperialism, capitalism, nationalism, conflict, and political change, this course also introduces students to the major historical debates that have shaped our knowledge of Korea today.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of early modern and modern Korean history, paying attention to such topics as political systems and Confucian ideology, Choson-era social and cultural developments, the introduction of new forms of agriculture and technology during the Choson dynasty, conflict with both China and Japan, nineteenth-century imperialism, capitalism, diplomacy, and Korea's colonial and post-colonial experiences. Students will read a wide range of historical accounts, including both classic texts and recent scholarship, to learn how to debate historical and political issues related to Korean history, culture, and society. In addition, students will gain experience with primary sources in English, Japanese and/or Korean, in order to conduct their own research into Korean history.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

view the timetable and further details for this course


All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer