While previously hosted online in 2021 and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NKS Seminar returns to in-person events at the Korean Culture Center of Los Angeles in 2022. Beginning on Tuesday, June 21st, the Seminar boasts a robust 4-day schedule consisting of a series of workshops, lectures, and hands-on cultural learning events. With lecturers and participants from over 40 states across the country, the NKS Seminar presents a valuable opportunity for educators to engage and learn about Korean history and culture directly from renowned scholars and professionals in the field.
The NKS Seminar began with an introduction from Sung Kim, and a congratulatory remark from the Honorable Youngwan Kim, the Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles. Next, Dr. Jennifer Jung-Kim from the University of California Los Angeles delivered lectures on Korean History and Culture through her discussion of the UNESCO Cultural Heritage and the Political Development and Economic Growth of South Korea. Following Dr. Jung-Kim, Dr. Susie Woo from the American Studies Department at the California State University Fullerton began her presentation on the postcolonial effects of the Korean War and US-Korea relations.
After the lectures, a series of cultural learning activities followed. A Sijo workshop led by Dr. Lucy Park, Executive Director of the Sejong Cultural Society, introduced participants to the Korean traditional poetry of Sijo. Throughout the lecture, participants engaged in composing their own Sijo; selected entries are to be presented on the third day of the Seminar series.
Following Dr. Park, a lesson on Korean traditional music, drumming, and “Samulnori” was directed by Dr. Donald D. Kim, Adjunct Professor from the Department of Ethnomusicology of the University of California. Dr. Kim and his students also delivered a traditional music performance that included the Korean flute, the Gayageum, and the Janggo drum. Finally, the first day of NKS concluded with a tour of the 1st floor exhibition hall of the Korean Cultural Center. With artwork and artifacts from various time periods in Korean history, the Korean Cultural Center provided an immersive experience for participants to view valuable cultural artifacts firsthand.
Ultimately, the National Korean Studies Seminar’s return to an in-person series of events presented an engaging experience spanning a wide variety of topics about Korea that will serve as the basis for future educators to incorporate into learning curriculums. Through its program, NKS Seminar hopes to foster interest in the continued study of Korea and extend education about Korean history and culture into more U.S. classrooms and learning institutions.
Suhh Yeon Kim is a student at Beverly Hills High School and an intern for the National Korean Studies Seminar. Her main interests include postcolonialist studies and Korean history, as well as AAPI advocacy and journalism.
Participants enjoy a performance on the Korean traditional instrument “gayageum” by Dr. Donald D. Kim, Adjunct Professor from the Department of Ethnomusicology of the University of California.