Special Topics: Gendered Modernity in South Korea

ASIANST 150.3 Gendered Modernity in South Korea

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Staff

CCN: 05795

Time/Location: MWF 2-3pm / 246 Dwinelle Hall

This course will examine the changing representations of gender in South Korea in the twentieth century. South Korea’s economic growth, along with industrialization, urbanization, family restructuring, and expanding market economy, has been destabilizing the core of nation-states—the patriarchal family as a unit of the modern nation-state in South Korea. Amid the socioeconomic and historical change, not only gender but also the individual experience of being “modern” is constantly negotiated in contrast to the “traditional” past, and in relation to the rest of the world. The experience is oftentimes contradictory and ambivalent due to the increasingly sped-up transnational cultural flow in today’s globalized age. Exploring shifting gender relations and modern experiences in South Korea, this course will examine gendered nationalisms, marriage and family systems, feminism, and romantic love and sex. Building upon the excitement generated by these topics in the past decade, the class seeks an understanding how uneven state control over men and women discursively shapes gendered desires, practices, and norms and how individual men and women act upon and/or challenge such normalizing forces. It will also examine how gendered imagination (e.g., masculine and progressive vs. feminine and traditional) is continuously projected onto postcolonial racial and ethnic hierarchies in geopolitics. Avoiding biological or social determinism, this course treats gender as an analytical category and examines how modern nation-states and global geopolitics are constituted and operated.

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