Writing New Horizons: Explorers, Envoys, and Other Encounters in Korean Travel Narratives


Whether physical or imagined, travel evokes notions of center, periphery, boundary and identity that shape the world we live in. This seminar course uses travelogues as well as literary, visual and cinematic representations of travels relating to Korea to explore how travel, art and imagination together help constitute one's sense of place. The course approaches travel from three angles. First, it examines writings by Korean authors on domestic, interregional, and international travels from premodern to modern times. Such works offer a frame for tracing conceptualizations of self and other through topics including diaspora, refugee crisis, migrant workers, political exile, prisoners of war, and others. The course also looks at stories of travel to Korea by non-Korean authors in order to see how "Korea" was perceived in various times by people outside the country. Lastly, through imagined journeys typically labelled as "sci-fi" or "fantasy", it examines notions of "truthful" and "realistic," and considers the function of the fantastic and storytelling and their relation to the world we live in. For their final project, students will create a map of real or fictional travels based on material covered in class. Using Digital Humanities tools such as StoryMaps (ArcGIS), Carto, or MyMaps (Google), they will also produce itineraries and narratives to accompany the maps, and present these results online. Necessary technical assistance will be provided by the GIS team at Olin Library throughout the semester. All reading in English. Prior knowledge of Korean language or culture may be helpful but is not required.
Course Attributes: BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM; EN H

Section 01

Writing New Horizons: Explorers, Envoys, and Other Encounters in Korean Travel Narratives
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