Tuesday, September 15, 2009

[DeCal] General, Administrative, and Podcasting

Availability of PowerPoint Presentations
I understand that programs, such as DeCal's, are now being offered or tested at other UC campuses. I am going to make all my Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation files available (Not to mention audio podcasts, a full curriculum, and reading list all also available). I am doing this with the hope that similar courses can be offered at other universities. Provided that (1) due credit is given (2) Bruce Cumings book, Korea's Place in the Sun is read. Please contact me.

Attendance: I have received a couple e-mails already asking if it is okay to have missed the first lecture and, while attendance is 40% of the course grade as outlined in the syllabus, in the presentation today, I did talk about how hard it actually is to fail the course. It is up to you to be able to come up with some combination of numbers to hit the magic 70% to pass the course. So, space for the moment will not be what will prevent you from enrolling in this course. You will need to talk to Amanda about the exact details of this either in person or by e-mail at koreandecal09@gmail.com, but if you are on the waitlist, don't worry we still have about twenty seats left.

Podcasting: Due to miscommunication between myself and a Mr. Lee and a Miss Lee, we were unable to record the first week's presentation. Nonetheless, future meetings will be fully podcasted. Trust me, no one is more heavily disappointed than I am. But, along with the podcasts, the syllabus, the reading material on the syllabus, and the Microsoft PowerPoint files, it is my wish that anybody can pick up and participate in the discussion that is going on in class and/or even start their own DeCal at another UC or even a school somewhere else.

Recommended Book: Again, I heavily recommend that you purchase, Korea's Place in the Sun by Professor Bruce Cumings

"Bruce Cumings' research and teaching focus on modern Korean history, 20th century international history, U.S.-East Asian relations, East Asian political economy,and American foreign relations" (Department of History, University of Chicago).

While he has been heavily criticized by some, especially those in Korea of his views, I believe much of it owes to the fact that some Koreans have a hard time that "foreigners" can be more knowledgeable about Korea than Koreans. He is generally considered to the most prominent expert in these fields, particulary pertaining to the Korean War. What makes it particularly attractive is that he condenses Korea's history into a one-volume book with prose that many find to be particularly inspiring. His work is revisionist in the sense that he looks at contemporary and past events on the Korean peninsula with neither a focus on how Korea's importance in history dwells down to how she transmitted Chinese culture to Japan (a very Japan-centric view of the world) or how the tragedy that Koreans have witnessed in the twentieth century is a tragedy for tragedy's sake. The currriculum of the DeCal is largely based around his book.

Recommended Assignment: Please e-mail Prof. Bruce Cumings and see if he could make it to Berkeley. I mentioned in class today that I e-mailed him earlier this summer, asking him to see if he could come guest lecture at Berkeley, but his response was that "he will be busy this semester... and next semester." Perhaps sixty students asking him to come to Berkeley might change his mind. His e-mail address as listed on his webpage is here or rufus88@uchicago.edu.

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