Program Vision

Given UCSD’s reputation as an institution founded on a firm belief in interdisciplinary studies, we have chosen to move beyond the traditional “area studies” model typically used by larger Korean Studies programs at most national universities to study other nation-states and regions of the world. With this existing strength we now propose to institutionalize our innovative approach to Korea’s role on the world stage, or what we call transnational studies. This approach views Korea in the context of its relationship with other countries, regions, and partners with respect to important, contemporary topics of concern and study.

The majority of programs at other institutions approach Korean Studies by underscoring the uniqueness of the peninsula’s history and culture, whereas UCSD’s program was founded on the principle that the most effective and long-term growth strategy is to make Korean Studies relevant to and engage with other nation-states, cultures, and areas. To this end, our faculty members focus on prominent themes that locate the peninsula not just in local and national contexts but also in their regional and global connections to the rest of the world.

Themes of particular interest in the Arts and Humanities are:

  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Gender/Sexuality
  • Colonialism/neo-coloniality
  • Migration/diaspora (both internal and external to Korea)
  • Globalization

Themes of importance at GPS include:

  • South Korea’s long-run growth
  • Democratization 
  • Social change 
  • Political economy of North Korea in a regional context