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Posted by on Feb 6, 2010

Korean Studies at Harvard and Arirang: Resources and References

In the midst of my dismay on not finding good online resources for exploring Korean history and culture, I stumbled across the Korean Studies’ Digital Resources page at Harvard University.

In hindsight I should have started there. It seems that the librarian there has done an admirable job assembling these resources into some coherent page (Mikyung Kang, please forgive me if you are not the librarian there).

Some highlights include (text taken from site):

  • CEAL: Internet Resources Subject Guide to Korean Materials
    An extensive list of online resources for Korean studies compiled by librarians of the Committee on Korean Materials of CEAL (Council on East Asian Libraries).
  • Electronic Resources Guide by USC Korean Heritage Library
    A wide range of links to Korea-related electronic resources, with particularly rich contents on South Korean government, statistics, and cinema.
  • Korea Knowledge Portal 국가지식포털
    The official gateway to South Korean government documents operated by the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (한국정보문화진흥원). This full-text database links eight national institutes and is searchable by keyword, author, publisher, subject, format, language, and date.
  • Korean Database 디지탈한국학
    An extensive database of Korean art, culture, folklore, history, literature, philosophy, and religion, developed by the Academy of Korean Studies (한국학중앙연구원). This database is searchable by keyword and can be browsed by subject.
  • National Digital Library 국가전자도서관
    The largest information database for materials on pre-1950 Korea with particularly rich contents on the Japanese Occupation period. Old newspapers (pre-1945), official gazettes (1894-1910), periodicals (pre-1950), more than 1400 Korean academic journals, and the original images of Korean rare books and old maps are available online through more than 70 databases of eight Korean national libraries: the National Library of Korea (국립중앙도서관), the National Assembly Library (국회도서관), the Supreme Court Library (법원도서관).
  • Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library – North Korea
    Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library – South Korea
    Links to and description of a large number of sites dealing with North and South Korea and Korean studies. The majority are to English-language sites.

So kudos to Harvard. Stumbling around, I also found the Arirang Interactive Classroom on the Korean-American Experience. Good and an interactive way to tell a historical narrative.

They provide lesson plans as well, which seemed quite reasonable explorations of the history.

PROCEDURES:
1. Before viewing the Lesson I documentary clip (either as
streaming video from the website or a video from the DVD):
a. Ask students to discuss what they know about Korea or what they
think when they hear the words “Korea” or “Korean.” Place responses
on board.  Point out stereotypes and critically examine them
b. Find Korea on a map.
c. Encourage students to brainstorm. Write down five
to ten reasons why they might leave America to live in
another country. Share their answers. By keeping a tally,
students should look for and share similar responses.
2. Using Concept Definition Mapping (see attached), look up, define,
and discuss the terms: immigrate, emigrate, migrate, and diaspora.
3. Introduce the documentary Arirang Part I in
its entirety with this perspective:
It begins in the late 19th century as Korea is grappling with the
issues of modernization and imperialism. It ends in 1965. It brings
to light the significant events that impacted the development of
Korean America, Korea and also the world. The Korean immigration
experience is both “like others and like no other,” reflecting problems
special to Koreans but also fitting into the immigration patterns
experienced by other peoples. It addresses the struggle that new
immigrants have confronted in building their lives in a new world.

4. Show Lesson I documentary clip (8 minutes) or as much of Arirang Part I
(total length 57 minutes) as time permits. As students view the film Arirang,
they should note reasons why Koreans immigrated to the United States.
5. Discuss why Koreans immigrated.

Looking at immigration in general, it seems a good attachment point for a socially critical pedagogical approach, something championed by Freire. Students could really benefit from a discussion to explore the power agents at work on people who immigrate. It is a story that effects us all, but so few understand the myriad of forces at work.

Anywho, be sure to check out the Korean resources.

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