Creating a Nexus at Monash for a Stronger Korean Studies in Melbourne and the Metropolitan Region AKS CORE UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME FOR KOREAN STUDIES

  • Jackson, Andrew David (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Brown, Lucien (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Sohn, Jung Yeon (Associate Investigator (AI))
  • Han, Gil-Soo (Associate Investigator (AI))
  • Kim, Jung Sim, (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Roh, Jae, (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Ko, Hyesun, (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Zulawnik, Adam, (Partner Investigator (PI))

Project: Research

Project Description

Establishing a content programme and a subject identity
The aim of the project is to develop and strengthen the Korean Studies Programme at Monash University. The main problem of Korean Studies at Monash University is that while we have a strong Korean language programme, we do not have any established Korean content programme so students have to study more general Asian Studies courses in order to graduate. There is a risk of Korean study being subsumed into a generic regional studies, this is the current trend in universities elsewhere, for example, in Copenhagen. It is therefore important to create a more balanced programme which also includes the study of Korean history, society and culture.
Although the language programme is established and successful, it is also important to keep updating the curriculum. We also need to make sure that our Korean language programme is well aligned with the content and topics being covered in our new content courses.

Expanding higher level research at Monash University
Given the low number of graduate students, it is vital to get more students studying higher level research in Korean Studies at Monash University. We will establish content courses at BA level that will generate interest into higher level research and encourage and nurture more students to take the Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies MA with a focus on Korean, and also encourage students onto Honours courses with a view to continuing to Ph.D level.

Establishing an institutional identity
There is also no distinct Korean Studies identity at Monash that clearly distinguishes the programme from other programmes in Australia and therefore attracts postgraduate MA and PhD students both regionally and internationally for further study. Korean Studies has a very small profile both locally and regionally. Without a clear institutional identity and the absence of content course study in Korean Studies, many of our graduating Korean Studies pursue postgraduate research in other disciplines or go to other universities to continue postgraduate study in Korean Studies. Koreans living locally are often surprised to hear that there is so much interest in Korean language and culture at Monash. It is important to raise the profile and reach out to the Korean community by establishing Monash as a central venue for Korean related academic and cultural events.
Many of the students come to Monash with a clear interest in Hallyu and K-Pop or K-Drama from South Korea, but they are unable to take courses related to their interest that can help them develop academic insight into popular culture. In addition, a number of students come to us with an interest in North Korea and questions they are particularly concerned with include: why North Korea has not collapsed? What is the ideology of North Korea? What influences North Korea to behave in the way it does? What do ordinary North Koreans really believe? Furthermore, students learn Korean language as a grammatical system and conversational tool in our language acquisition classes, but do not have the opportunity of developing a deep understanding of the social meanings and subtle nuances in the Korean language, or the way that Korean language is linked to Korean society, history and identity. In addition to these interests of the students, it is important to establish a Korean Studies programme with classes that will help develop the critical understanding of Korean pre-modern and modern history, society and culture.
Promoting Student Employability in Korea-related Areas
One key element of our strategy is to improve the employability of our Korean Studies students. More and more students come to us with a concern about their post-graduation employment prospects. It is a tragic fact that in the last five years more Korean Studies students have gone onto work in Japanese related employment than in Korean related employment. We would like to reverse this trend and help our Korean Studies students find employment in Korea related subjects after graduation. This is why we are keen to establish strong links to South Korean commercial ventures in the region and to the Australian foreign services and to the Republic of Korea Consulate.
Promoting Interest in Korea in the Melbourne Metropolitan Area
An additional aim is to foster cooperation amongst neighbouring universities with an interest in Korean Studies with an aim to raise the profile of Korea and Korean in the area, create a bigger buzz about Korea amongst young people.

Having identified these problems and weaknesses in the development of the program, the current project has set objectives in the following six areas:
1.1 Establish a Korean Studies Research Hub at Monash University and a website and promotional materials dedicated to promoting the activities of the Research Hub
1.2 Increase the number of students pursuing higher level research
1.3 Establish a regional cultural and academic programme for Korean Studies under the umbrella of the Monash University Korean Studies Research Hub
1.4 Introduce new courses in the curriculum
1.5 Establish student support (including the establishment of a post-doc programme) and improve student participation and employability
1.6 Receive financial support for conducting research and publishing results

These objectives are interconnected: the courses we want to introduce will help to establish a Korean Studies content programme at Monash. In addition, they will help to establish a clear institutional identity at Monash of a specialization in Korean film, popular culture and North Korea. Courses that cover popular culture, Korean film and North Korean related issues also help to meet the interests of students joining the Korean Studies programme at Monash. Establishing a Korean Studies Research Hub that helps organize regular seminars, conferences and the student cinema club will help not only to raise the profile and institutional identity amongst Monash students but of Korean Studies in general in the Melbourne region. Establishing stronger links with commercial ventures will help our students find work in Korea related areas after graduation. We will train a future generation of Korea experts in the Melbourne region and in Australia and we will produce graduates with a positive message about Korea, its history, society and culture.

Short titleAKS CORE UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME FOR KOREAN STUDIES
StatusActive
Effective start/end date20/12/1719/12/22