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Kisaeng Farmer Pobusang
A 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 wife’s and husband’s 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 political stability.

  • 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.


Copyright © 2002 East Rock Institute. All rights reserved. Project Director Hesung Chun Koh. Funding from the Korea Foundation. Distribution in cooperation with ICU of Ewha Womans University.