Course syllabus


KOREAN 205: Korea through TV Drama and Film

SEMESTER 2, 2019


Lectures: Tuesdays 4pm - 6pm at 105-029 (Clock Tower, Room 029)

Tutorials: Thursdays 3pm - 4pm at 114-G13 (Commerce A, Room G17)


Coordinator: Dr. Hee-seung Irene Lee
Office: Room 439, Arts 2 Building (Level 4, 18 Symonds St.)
Office Hours: Thursdays 1 pm – 2 pm



When Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became the first video to reach one billion hits on YouTube it was widely considered to be a surprising yet singular happening which did not indicate any significant change in the map of the globalised media culture. However, a close look at the viral success of his music video will confirm the ongoing contact between Korean popular culture and overseas audiences since the early 1990s through the spread of Korean films, television dramas and popular music across neighboring Asian countries. The course aims to investigate such encounters between national and local cultures and the globalised media landscape with Korean contemporary popular culture as an example.

Firstly, the course will offer students the overview of the Korean wave, or Hallyu, a term that refers to the broad popularity of Korean popular culture in Asian markets and beyond. By reading the contexts of the Korean wave students can understand the multi-faceted link between Korea’s historical, social, political and economic dimension and its popular media culture.

Each week the course will help students analyse an exemplary Korean film or television drama in close relation to Korea’s path to modernity as well as to becoming the developed, multicultural nation it is now. Students can enhance the scope of their critical reading of cultural texts by learning relevant theoretical approaches that will remain useful for their further study of society and culture. Ultimately, "Korea through TV Drama and Film" will guide students so that they can develop necessary skills for critical reading of a modern society through popular media texts of everyday life.

No knowledge of Korean language is required.


Assessment Summary:

1. Assignment 1: Text Analysis (20%)

The first assignment (1,000 words) requires students to write a detailed text analysis of one viewing text in relation to a chosen topic. This exercise is to develop an analytic skill in closely reading visual texts and a writing skill in the style of formal and academic essay. Students will learn 1) how to ‘read’ a viewing text in an analytic manner 2) how to ‘relate’ their reading of a viewing text to relevant socio-historical discussion 3) how to ‘structure and write’ a formal essay. Assignment questions and guidelines will be given in the beginning of the second week of the semester. All essays should use a font size bigger than 12 fonts and in double-spaced with enough marginal space for comments. Prior to submitting the hard copies of essays, students should submit their essays through Turnitin via Canvas.

2. Assignment 2: Research Essay (30%)

The second assignment (1,500 words) requires students to carry out an independent research on a chosen topic. The list of assignment topics will be given by the end of the fifth week of the semester. The research essay should contain 1) student’s own perspective regarding a chosen topic 2) a detailed text analysis to support main ideas 3) critical thinking of the topic informed by an independent research. Students are strongly encouraged to start planning the second assignment as soon as possible in order to consult with the course convenor before they begin their own research and writing. This will be a key in presenting a well-researched and insightful essay.

3. Participation Mark (10%)
The participation mark is based on ONE short review (no longer than 500 words) of the weekly viewing in ONE of the tutorials. The review has to be handed in person in one of the tutorials where discussing the reviewed texts and students need to upload an electronic copy of their reviews to the participation mark page in the assignment section on Canvas

4. Final Examination (40%)
The 2-hour Final Examination covers all the lectures and primary viewings and readings covered in this course.


Prescribed Texts: TBA

Viewing texts available in General Library AV short loan collection

Reading texts available on Canvas


Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details