Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Yonsei University

Gender, Family, and Social Change in Contemporary South Korea

Yonsei University via Coursera


This course examines the transformation of Korean society beginning around the turn of the 20th century to contemporary times. In particular, it explores how shifting categories of masculinity, and by contrast, femininity have impacted upon, and in turn been influenced by social, cultural, and political change. Using multiple disciplinary lenses, we will critically examine how gender intersects with political, social, and economic developments starting with the Confucianization of Korean society during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) up to the contemporary moment of globalization and neoliberal reform. The class will draw on a variety of topics such as traditional views of women, religion, race, class, education, patriarchy, sexuality, imperialism, modernity, war, globalization, the diaspora, among others. Special attention will be placed on the historical, transnational and transdisciplinary connections.


  • The Gendering of Modernity and Military Authoritarianism
    • Broad overview of Korean history and literature beginning in the Joseon period with a particular focus on a series of social and cultural transformations that would have profound impact on the gender relations starting with Confucianism.
  • The (Un)making of the Modern Family
    • Introduction to the strategically gendered division of role in making modern Korean families and contemporary changes in the perception of marriage and family in Korea.
  • Female Beauty / Male Beauty & Body Aesthetics
    • Examine a range of topics including cosmetic surgery to male circumcision and body lines to understand how female and male beauty standards and aesthetics have changed over the past two centuries.
  • Sexuality in Korea
    • Discuss the issues of sexualities in contemporary Korea, ranging from the relationship between family and sexuality, commodified sexuality, to the issues of sexual minorities.
  • Looking Ahead into the Future...
    • Provide an overview of current positive changes in Korea related to gender and discuss impending issues of contemporary feminist movement and comfort women before concluding the lecture series.

Taught by

Hyun Mee Kim and Yoo Theodore Jun


3.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 299 ratings

Start your review of Gender, Family, and Social Change in Contemporary South Korea

  • Profile image for Eleanor Wroblewski
    Eleanor Wroblewski
    Very poorly structured from a technical standpoint. Very confusing in terms of supplementary readings and recommended external videos. I was unimpressed at how much of the women's history portion of the course was covered completely from a male perspective, by a male professor using examples of fiction by men. Although attempts were made to be critical of this view, I felt that they did not go far enough.
  • Excellent course. The instructors were delightful and obviously well-versed in the subjects they presented. There was a lot of room to learn and draw one's own conclusions. Fascinating subject and well put-together course.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.