Korean studies is an academic discipline, focusing on the study of Korea. Areas commonly included under this rubric include Korean history, Korean literature, Korean art, Korean dance, Korean language and linguistics, Korean sociology and anthropology, Korean political science, Korean economics, Korean folklore, Korean ethnomusicology and increasingly study of Korean popular culture. It may be compared to other area studies disciplines, such as American studies and Chinese Studies. Korean studies is sometimes included within a broader regional area of focus including: "East Asian studies" or "Asian studies."
The term Korean studies first began to be used in the 1940s, but did not attain widespread currency until South Korea rose to economic prominence in the 1970s. In 1991, the South Korean government established the Korea Foundation to promote Korean studies around the world.
Korean studies was originally an area of study conceived of and defined by non-Koreans. Korean scholars of Korea tend to see themselves as linguists, as sociologists, as historians, not as "Koreanists" unless they have received at least some of their education outside of Korea and are academically active (for example publishing and attending conferences)in languages other than Korean (most Korean studies publications are in English but there is also a significant amount of Korean Studies activity in other European languages), or work outside of Korean academia. In the mid-2000s Korean universities pushing for more classes taught in English began to hire foreign-trained Koreanists of Korean and non-Korean origin to teach classes, often geared towards foreigners in Korean graduate schools. There are now graduate school programs in Korean Studies (mostly active at the MA level) in most of the major Korean universities. BA programs in Korean Studies have now been opened at two Korean universities. The BA programs are distinctive in that they have few foreign students.
- The Academy of Korean Studies (한국학중앙연구원, AKS) est.1978
- The Korea Research Foundation (한국학술진흥재단, KRF) est.1981
- The Korea Foundation (한국국제교류재단) est.1991.
Notable foreign centers of Korean studies
- Beijing Foreign Studies University — School of Asian and African Studies
- University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - Centre for Korean Studies
- University of California, Berkeley — Center for Korean Studies
- University of California, Los Angeles — Center for Korean Studies
- University of Chicago — Center for East Asian Studies
- Columbia University — Weatherhead East Asian Institute
- Harvard University — Korea Institute
- University of Hawaii — Center for Korean Studies
- Indiana University - East Asian Studies Center
- Indiana University Bloomington - Center for Korean Studies
- University of Leeds - Korea Research Hub, UK, Leeds
- University of London School of Oriental and African Studies — Centre of Korean Studies
- University of Michigan — Nam Center for Korean Studies
- University of Pennsylvania — Center for East Asian Studies
- University of Sheffield — School of East Asian Studies
- University of Toronto — Centre for the Study of Korea
- University of Washington - Korea Studies Program, East Asia Studies, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
- Ohio State University
- Yale University — East Rock Institute
- Le Centre de Recherches sur la Corée (CRC ou « Centre Corée ») de l’EHESS
- Journal of Korean Studies (JKS) University of Washington, Seattle.
- Korean Studies (KS) University of Hawaii.
- Korea Journal Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Seoul, South Korea.
- Acta Koreana Keimyung University, Daegu.
Associations for Korean Studies overseas
The term Koreanists indicates academic scholars of Korean language, history, culture, society, music, art, literature, film and more. Noted Koreanists are usually adept in Korean, even if they are citizens of foreign countries.
Notable scholars of Korean religion include Robert Buswell Jr. (for Buddhism), Michael Kalton (for Confucianism), Donald Clark and Donald Baker (both historians with publications related to Christianity) and James Huntley Grayson.
Notable historians of Korea include Bruce Cumings, Martina Deuchler, James Palais, Carter Eckert, Roger Tennant, Lew Young Ick, John Duncan, Michael Robinson, Charles K. Armstrong, Lee Kibaek, Edward W. Wagner, and others.
- Korean wave (Koreanophile)
- List of Korea-related topics
- List of academic disciplines
- North Korean studies