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Korean studies is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of Korea, which includes the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and diasporic Korean populations. Areas commonly included under this rubric include Korean history, Korean culture, Korean literature, Korean art, Korean music, Korean language and linguistics, Korean sociology and anthropology, Korean politics, 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".
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, sociologists, and historians, but not as "Koreanists" unless they have received at least some of their education outside 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 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. This was 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.
- The Advanced Center for Korean Studies (한국국학진흥원, ACKS) est.1995.
Debates in the Field
What exactly Korean Studies is, who is teaching it, who is learning, and what should be taught continues to be debated.
There has been a small series of works debating Korean Studies published in academic journals. A sort of historical overview by Charles Armstrong titled "Development and Directions of Korean Studies in the United States" comes strongly from Armstrong's perspective teaching history at Columbia University, as his work: "Focusing on the discipline of history, ... traces the emergence of Korean Studies in the 1950s, the evolution of the field and the changing backgrounds of American scholars working on Korea in the 1960s to 1980s, and the rapid growth of Korean Studies since the early 1990s."  Another historian, Andre Schmid published an early contribution to the debate in 2008, challenging the ways that English academia was pushing or shaping the directions of Korean Studies. Schmid explained, "In the unequal global cultural arena where English still dominates, the direction of Korean Studies in the United States disproportionately shapes international representations of Korean culture."  University of Berkeley Sociologist John Lie contributed two pieces to the debate, the more recent of which challenged the Korean Studies, claiming "senior Koreanists seem rather content with their progress, telling their followers bizarre tales from the field and seeking to reproduce the archaic and mistaken Harvard East Asia paradigm." Lie discusses the weaknesses he sees in this paradigm for the remainder of the essay. In 2018 CedarBough T Saeji published an article in Acta Koreana bringing in the perspective of teaching Korean Studies in Korea, focusing on "1) the struggle to escape the nation-state boundaries implied in the habitual terminology, particularly when teaching in the ROK, where the country is unmarked (“Han’guk”), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is marked (“Pukhan”), and the diaspora is rarely mentioned at all; 2) the implications of the expansion of Korean Studies as a major within the ROK; 3) in-class navigations of Korean national pride, the trap of Korean uniqueness and (self-)orientalization and attitudes toward the West." 
Notable centers of Korean studies outside Korea
- Beijing Foreign Studies University — School of Asian and African Studies
- Freie Universität Berlin - Institute of Korean Studies
- George Washington University — GW Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS)
- Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences - Department of Korean and Mongolian Studies 
- University of British Columbia - Centre for Korean Studies
- University of California, Berkeley — Center for Korean Studies
- University of California, Los Angeles — Center for Korean Studies
- Le Centre de Recherches sur la Corée (CRC ou « Centre Corée ») de l’EHESS
- University of Chicago — Center for East Asian Studies
- Columbia University — Center for Korean Research
- Harvard University — Korea Institute
- University of Hawaii — Center for Korean Studies
- Indiana University - East Asian Studies CenterInstitute for Korean Studies
- Indiana University Bloomington - Center for Korean Studies
- University of Leeds - Korea Research Hub, UK, Leeds
- Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (University of Leuven, KU Leuven)- Center for Korean Studies
- University of London School of Oriental and African Studies — Centre of Korean Studies
- Far Eastern Federal University — Oriental Institute - School of Regional and International Studies
- Novosibirsk State Technical University — Faculty of Humanities - International Affairs and Regional Studies (
- University of Michigan — Nam Center for Korean Studies
- National Museum of Ethnology (Japan)
- Ohio State University
- University of Pennsylvania — James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies
- University of Sheffield — School of East Asian Studies
- University of Central Lancashire — International Institute of Korean Studies
- Tenri University — Department of Foreign Languages
- Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy — Chair of Korean Studies
- University of Tokyo — Department of Korean Studies
- University of Toronto — Centre for the Study of Korea
- Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City — Faculty of Korean Studies, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Institute for European Studies — KF-VUB Korea Chair
- University of Washington - Korea Studies Program, East Asia Studies, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
- Yale University — East Rock Institute
Korean Studies Programs in Korea
- Academy of Korean Studies - this is only a graduate school with no undergraduate program
- Dong-A University - Graduate School of International Studies
- Ewha Womans University - B.A. degree program (Scranton College, Division of International Studies, Department of Korean Studies) and M.A. degree program (Graduate School of International Studies, Department of Korean Studies)
- Hankuk University of Foreign Studies — Undergraduate program and Graduate program
- Hanyang University - Graduate School of International Studies
- Korea University - Graduate School of International Studies
- Pusan National University - Graduate School of International Studies
- Sangmyung University - The Graduate School, Division of Humanities and Social sciences, Department of Korean Studies
- Seoul National University - Graduate School of International Studies
- Sogang University - Undergraduate and Graduate program of the School of Integrated Knowledge(Global Korean Studies) and Graduate program(Graduate School of International Studies)
- Yonsei University - Graduate School of International Studies
- The Journal of Korean Studies (JKS) has just moved to George Washington University after stints at University of Washington and Columbia.
- Korean Studies (KS) University of Hawaii.
- Korea Journal Formerly published by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Seoul, South Korea, this journal is now published by the Academy of Korean Studies.
- Acta Koreana Keimyung University, Daegu.
- Chosen Gakuho: Journal of the Academic Association of Koreanology in Japan, Tenri University.
- Korean Culture and Society, Association for the Study of Korean Culture and Society.
- Routledge Research on Korea Series.
Associations for Korean Studies overseas
- The Association for Korean Studies in Europe (AKSE)
- British Association for Korean Studies (BAKS)
- Academic Association of Koreanology in Japan
- Association for the Study of Korean Culture and Society (Japan)
- Committee on Korean Studies of the Association for Asian Studies (CKS)
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 Koreanists in different fields include:
- Early Koreanists: James Scarth Gale, William E. Skillend and Richard Rutt.
- Music, dance, and performance: Lee Hye-ku, Song Bangsong, Keith Howard, Hwang Byungki, Lee Duhyon, Lee Byongwon, and Roald Maliangkay.
- Folklore, anthropology, and sociology: Roger Janelli, Shin Gi-wook, Nancy Abelmann, Laurel Kendall, Mutsuhiko Shima, Choi Chungmoo, Pai Hyung-il, Joanna Elfving-Hwang, John Lie, Stephen Epstein, CedarBough T. Saeji, and Shimpei Cole Ota.
- Religion: 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
- History: Bruce Cumings, Martina Deuchler, James Palais, Carter Eckert, Roger Tennant, Lew Young Ick, John Duncan, Michael Robinson, JaHyun Kim Haboush, Charles K. Armstrong, Lee Kibaek, Edward W. Wagner, Sung-Yoon Lee, and Todd Henry.
- Archeology: Gina Barnes and Bae Kidong.
- Literature: David McCann, Peter H. Lee, Yang Hi Choe-Wall, Kyeong-Hee Choi, and Brother Anthony of Taize.
- DPRK (North Korea): Andrei Lankov, Charles K. Armstrong
- International relations: Sung-Yoon Lee
- Korean Wave (Koreanophile) (Koreaboo)
- List of Korea-related topics
- List of academic disciplines
- North Korean studies
- "Introduction". Korean Foundation website. Archived from the original on 2005-12-20. Retrieved 2006-01-12.
- Armstrong, Charles (2014). [archive.much.go.kr › cmm › fms › FileDown "Development and Directions of Korean Studies in the United States"] Check
|url=value (help). Journal of Contemporary Korean Studies. Korea. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Schmid, Andre (2008). "Korean Studies at the Periphery and as a Mediator in US - Korean Relations". 사이間SAI. Korea.
- Lie, John (2017). "The Tangun Myth and Korean Studies in the United States". Transnational Asia: An Online Interdisciplinary Journal. USA. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Saeji, CedarBough (December 15, 2018). "No Frame to Fit It All : An Autoethnography on Teaching Undergraduate Korean Studies, on and off the Peninsula". Acta Koreana. Korea. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Lee, Sung-Yoon (September 6, 2017). "The Way to Make North Korea Back Down". The New York Times. USA. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
- "North Korea has compelling need to conduct more missile..." CNBC. USA. September 21, 2017. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
- Noriko Asato, ed. (2013). "Korea". Handbook for Asian Studies Specialists: A Guide to Research Materials and Collection Building Tools. ABC-CLIO. p. 289+. ISBN 978-1-59884-843-4.
- "Korea Subject Resources". Subject Guides. Australian National University Library.
- C.V. Starr East Asian Library. "Research Guides: Korean Studies". US: University of California, Berkeley.
- "Korean Studies". Research Guides. US: Harvard University Library.
- "Japan and Korea". Subject Guides. UK: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, University of London.
- "Korean Studies". Research Guides. US: University of Michigan Library.
- "Korean Studies Library Guide". US: University of Hawaii at Manoa.
- "Korean Studies Research Guide". US: Columbia University Libraries.
- The Korea Foundation, Seoul 한국국제교류재단
- krf.or.kr, The Korea Research Foundation 한국학술진흥재단
- Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul and Korean Studies Net. 한국학중앙연구원
- Korean Studies Portal 한국학 포털 (Frank Hoffmann)
- Yuldo.net: A Korean Studies Site
- Seoul National University Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies official website