Brief Overview of this Lesson
Just as the Korean dancers of today celebrate the cyclical nature of
time and history, so too, did Korean artisans of the Choson Dynasty (1392-1910),
Korea's longest uninterrupted royal rule. Many of the art forms, traditions,
and cultural values of modern Korea trace their beginnings to the Choson
period. Neo-Confucianism was the overall ideology for state and society
right from the beginning of the dynasty. However, recent studies of 18th
century household registry and criminal punishment records report the
persistence of the following Korean indigenous norms: relative equality
of women for the household headship and punishment of paternal and maternal
or wifes and husbands kins. (See
KOCIS for more information.)
In this module, you will be randomly assigned a character that represents
one of the many social positions typical of the Choson Dynasty. Your profile
will supply you with a picture of what a person in your position might
look like in the Choson period, as well as a short biography of your character.
Other characters' profiles will be available, so that you can compare
experiences between classes. Just click on the icons for each character
to access the profile. If at any point during the lesson you would like
to review your own profile, simply click on the icon. Below is a short
description of each Section of the Module. Remember, you can freely move
between all sections in the module, and reference the character profiles
at any time. Enjoy your time in the Choson Dynasty!
- Section 2, An Historic Perspective
in a Global Context. Explore this interactive timeline as it
delineates different events around the globe, and across history. Compare
events between Korea and her East Asian neighbors, as well as East Asia
and the rest of the world. Note the differences in dynastic length and
- Section 3, The Tale of Ch'unhyang.
Read the folktale of Ch'unhyang, and see traditional Korean cultural
values and virtues in action.
- Section 4 Beliefs, Practices
and the Social Structure. Read an in-depth explanation of the
impact of Neo-Confucian thought on Choson society and of the social
context in which the Ch'unhyang story emerged.
- Section 5, Social Class At-A-Glance.
Know your place! Identify your character's social position with this
interactive, visual representation of the Dynasty's class structure,
along with more information on the specific classes.
- Section 6, Questions &
Answers, Answer a brief series of questions to test your new
knowledge of the Choson Dynasty.
- Section 7, Conclusion.
Review the main points of Lesson 1, and then proceed to Lesson 2, Different
Cultural Values: the 1882 US and Korea Treaty.