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Understanding Korean Society through Popular Culture (August 2-30, 2022)

Americans and people across the globe have become avid consumers of Korean popular culture. In this new complimentary online course, participating educators will learn more about the content and production of these hugely successful films, television dramas and music and will explore what they suggest about contemporary South Korean culture and society. Apply by July 31, 2022. (The registration period is closed earlier since the slots are filled.)


The Korean Wave phenomenon has spread throughout the 21st century but recently, Parasite, Squid Game, and BTS have catapulted Korean popular culture to new levels of worldwide fame and fascination. In this seminar, we will examine the rise of Korean popular culture through films, dramas, and K-pop, as well as unscripted television, webtoons, sports, esports, beauty, fashion, and food. We will also use popular culture as platforms from which we can better understand dynamics of Korean culture and society.

Jennifer Jung-Kim teaches courses on the history and cultures of Korea and East Asia in the UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, the International and Area Studies program, the Honors Collegium program, and also is affiliated with the Food Studies program. She enjoys designing new courses and incorporating Reacting to the Past historical role-playing games into her courses. She earned a UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 2021. Jennifer has been a popular instructor in our teacher-centered programs for many years.

This course is open only to educators. There is no charge to take the course. Reading assignments and pre-recorded lectures for each week will be available in an online forum and are to be completed prior to the discussion sessions. Access and log-in information will be provided upon acceptance into the course. Seminar requirements include timely participation in the web forum (including 150-word film and website reviews), active participation in each discussion session, creation of a lesson plan to incorporate part of what is covered in the course into one's own course and a short essay reflecting on what you've learned about South Korea society and popular culture. The deadline to complete course requirements is September 30, 2022.

Educators completing all course requirements can receive 3 USC Rossier School of Education continuing education units or a certificate of completion.

Online discussions (via Zoom) will be each Tuesday, 5-6 pm Pacific Time.

Session   Date   Topic
1. 8/2 Rise of the Korean Wave and Globalization of Korean Films
2. 8/9 K-pop and Other Genres of Korean Music: BTS and Beyond
3. 8/16 K-dramas and Korean Television for Worldwide Audiences
4. 8/23 K-beauty, K-fashion, and Korean Food: Glocal and Global
5. 8/30 Webtoons, K-sports, and K-esports: From Old to New

How to apply

Submit the application below.