ATS3156 - Popular culture in North and South Korea, Hallyu and East Asian cultural flows - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Korean Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Andy Jackson


Dr Andy Jackson

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units or by permission.


The unit critically examines the recent popularity of Korean popular culture in East Asia and beyond. The focus is on South Korean pop music, gaming culture and TV dramas. However, we will also be considering North and South Korean graphic novels and cinema. The course also situates the recent Hallyu (Korean Wave) phenomenon within the history of cultural flows in East Asia and we examine the processes that have contributed to the increased consumption of Korean cultural product inside and outside the Korean peninsula. One primary focus will be on the analysis of critical approaches to the understanding of North Korean state media and South Korean commercial cultural output. In particular, we analyse how state-centered promotion policies are tied up with notions of cultural nationalism. The aim is to move beyond fandom and to encourage students to situate the production of popular culture within the domestic and regional political, economic, commercial and industrial contexts and to critically analyse popular culture using a variety of methodological approaches. Each week students will be introduced to different methodological frameworks they can utilize to unpack popular culture. In their readings, they will also be exposed to a variety of approaches to the analysis of popular culture case studies.


Upon the successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. identify recent developments in cultural policy and output in North and South Korea and explain the significance of popular cultural flows in East Asia;
  2. critically examine the connection between the production, distribution and consumption of popular culture and its evolving historical, political and sociocultural contexts;
  3. critically analyse primary works of popular culture (TV dramas, film, pop music videos, graphic novels) from a commercial cultural and a state media context using appropriate theoretical frameworks;
  4. engage in informed discussion of the different texts and contexts studied in the unit;
  5. use appropriate theoretical and research tools to analyse relevant case studies.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study