What are the salient issues addressed in Korean literature and film by female writers and directors? In what ways have Korean women intellectuals constructed their own identities in their literary and cinematic representations? How do female-authored works present women's problems in a light that differs from the predominant perspectives of their male counterparts? This course explores the female voice in novels, short stories, poetry, documentaries, and fiction films by Korean women from the 1910s to the present. Through selected works, we examine the struggles of early modern Korean feminists, women's lives in postwar society, and the female experience of displacement and belonging in contemporary Korea. In addition, the class occasionally questions how the Korean women's cinema and literature show the similarity with and/or difference from Chinese and Japanese counterparts in order to better contextualize the Korean cases within the East Asian and even broader world history and culture.
In this class, students will gain an understanding of the ways in which women come to a recognition of the problems they face and articulate these specific issues via their unique ways of representation. Through what are largely self-reflective narratives, students will explore how Korean women dealing with an oppressive political and cultural environment that had a variety of manifestations--such as colonialism, dictatorship, national division, and traditional patriarchy--strived to make heard and seen women's voice and vision and present their gendered experience as a critique of the male-centered society. The class consists of occasional film screenings, lectures, presentations, and discussions.