Making Places in Seoul: History of Urbanization and Development

EALC-E 350 — Spring 2019

Seung-kyung Kim
Sycamore Hall 100
Days and Times
WF 2:25 - 3:45 p.m.
Course Description

Characterized by an ever-increasing population, rampant pollution and jam-packed traffic, Seoul has been long regarded as a stereotypically chaotic Asian metropolis. Despite the newly found status as a global city, it has not entirely wiped away the chaotic, ugly and unattractive image of the old for residents and visitors alike.

Lately, however, small yet meaningful changes are emerging in Seoul. With little or no emotional attachment to the grand, flashy urban monuments the government and big corporations have built, young artists and creative cultural entrepreneurs move around different places in the city looking for meanings, aesthetics and feelings. It produces practices that regenerate existing places or create new places. Rundown buildings and crooked alleyways are rediscovered and rehabilitated. Often deplored as ‘gentrification’, the ongoing urban changes in Seoul prove to be much more significant and complex than what they seem at the first blush.

Mainly focusing on five districts in Seoul (Jongno, Yongsan,Mapo, Gangnam, and Dongdaemun), this course will explore how they have come to represent different facets of Seoul’s urban culture in the past as well as in the present. We will see the birth of modern urban life going back to the colonial period, the reconstruction of the city from the utter destruction of the Korean War, the breakneck speed of urban development in the era of rapid economic growth, and the rise of the new urbanism around the beginning of the new millennium.

This is an intermediary course for undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in urban cultures of South Korea. There is no prerequisite, although background knowledge about Korean language, geography, history, and culture is highly desirable.

Korean Studies e-School
This course is part of the BTAA (Big Ten Academic Alliance) e-School for Korean Studies, which consists of ten core universities in the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic regions. This course will be primarily taught at the videoconferencing classroom on the Ohio State University campus and linked to students at Indiana University. Please contact Dr. Seung-kyung Kim with any inquiries.

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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