KOR1506 – South Korea's Popular Culture

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

South Korea, erstwhile consumer of the imported films, music and comics books from USA and Japan, has succeeded during the last decades in developing a formidable popular culture industry. In addition to saturating the domestic market, this industry has also grown into a prodigious exporter making its influence palpable worldwide but especially on the Asian cultural marketplaces. 

This course is aimed at understanding:

  • How South Korean state and capital has been nurturing country’s popular culture industry and promoting its exports
  • How South Korean popular culture attracts audiences, both domestically and globally, and what its strengths and weaknesses are
  • How South Korea popular culture (mis)represents the current conditions of South Korean society.
  • The course will deal with the full spectrum of the popular culture developments, with special focus on films and music.

Learning outcome

Upon the completion of this course you should:

  • Have gone through a historically and theoretically informed overview of the contemporaneous popular culture in South Korea.
  • Have learned about both more traditional genres, such as films and comics books, and the newly prominent genres, notably ‘idol groups,’ internationally recognized popular singers etc.
  • Have concurrently studied the developments on the South Korean television, particularly within the drama genre and its divergent sub-genres (melodrama, period drama, historical epics etc.).
  • Have understood the underlying mechanisms of the state-promoted popular culture exports from South Korea, and have learned about the South Korean popular culture fandom overseas.
  • Have familiarized yourself with research and popular literature about South Korea’s popular culture in full diversity of its genres and styles.
  • Have discussed in the class the various ways of analysing and interpreting South Korea’s modern mass culture.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


The course consists of lectures, in total 12 classes of 2 hours each. Active participation in the classes is encouraged.

Compulsory activities

  • A digital multiple-choice test in Canvas. The test will be available from 10:00 AM on Monday 16th of March to 4:00 PM on Tuesday 17th of March. The test will consist of 5 multiple-choice questions. More detailed information will be available in Canvas after the semester start. 

All compulsory activities must be approved in order to qualify for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to check whether or not the compulsory activities are approved.

This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


4 hour written examination.

Passing the compulsory digital multiple-choice test is the pre-requisite for being allowed to take the examination.

Grading guidelines Spring 2019 (term paper) 

Grading guidelines Spring 2020 (4 hours digital home exam) 

Exam Spring 2020

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

Normally English, or a Scandinavian language (Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) in exceptional cases. If you want to use a Scandinavian language instead of English, you have to apply to your class teacher for permission.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring

Offered next time spring 2022.


Every spring

Offered next time spring 2022.

Teaching language