professor
Jungwon Kim

Apr 2017

I think Prof. Kim only teaches this class every three years or something. That being said, keep in mind that Korean Civ is a lecture class, and having her lecture to a whole room over a crackling microphone speeding through powerpoint slides is a probably a very different experience from having her in a seminar. PROS: Prof. Kim is a very friendly, funny person and worth visiting for office hours. She presents interesting information in her lectures and assigns readings on interesting topics about Korea's history and culture. A lot of them verge on anthropological and historiographical topics that make you change the way you think about history in general. CONS: Coupled with her microphone, her thick Korean accent, and her fast pace in teaching the class, Prof. Kim can be very hard to understand. In the end, I gave up taking notes because all the information sped by way to fast and incomprehensibly for me to properly write down everything. Instead, I just downloaded her powerpoints, which she fortunately posts on CourseWorks, and those (plus the readings) were enough to give me good studying notes for the midterm and final. Prof. Kim also tends to just read off the powerpoints word for word, which can make the class pretty boring. The problem is that, while you could just read the powerpoints on your own time, you still need to show up to class, because if you don't, she might call you out!! Every time we had class, she would call out a few names from her roster of people to commend them on a good reading response, but if you weren't there when she called your name, she would dock off points for attendance.

Dec 2014

I have a background in East Asian Studies from another institute, so I thought I'd knock out a core requirement here and be done, but Professor Kim has made me want to take another for fun. Let me say I'm not a history person, but her enthusiasm for all of the discussed topics and willingness to go above and beyond for each student made this a class I looked forward to attending. She lectures to a powerpoint every class but expects students to interject where they see fit from our weekly readings and any outside knowledge. She loves discussion so be well read in this class -- my class only had 13 students so get ready for awkward silence should no one speak up for her questions. As for the workload, the readings are the most time consuming. She requires a weekly post with a student lead discussion during the last half of the second lecture day. There is also a midterm and final, but she gives you a handout a week prior (she might forget, so be sure to ask if she waits too long) covering everything on it. Both tests are very straightforward and she gives extra credit for knowing specific history details (e.g. slavery was abolished in 1894 instead of saying it ended at the end of the Choson dynasty). The other real requirement is a paper on whichever topic you choose. She meets with you to discuss it and is, again, very helpful. When I met with her, she gave me a list of sources and helped me create a complete outline detailing exactly what she wanted from my topic. I highly recommend this course if you're looking to fill a core requirement with a wonderful professor, even if you don't think ancient Korea is your forte.