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):

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.

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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