This course is an ambitious survey of over five hundred years of history of a region with diverse peoples, cultures, and traditions.
Inevitably, some topics and themes do not receive as much discussion in course lectures as might be merited.
This assignment will introduce you to one of these themes and the major impact on the region and period under study.
Confucianism, as a philosophical system that sought to bring social harmony, had a major effect on family structures and gender roles.
Throughout China, Korea, and Japan, Confucianism structured and ordered society.
When the Choson Dynasty in Korea was founded in 1392, it sought to create a Neo-Confucian society, discouraging and at times persecuting Buddhism.
By implementing a number of policies, the Choson Dynasty gradually altered the traditional, indigenous structure of the Korean family, which had afforded more importance to women.
This essay will have you explore the changes that Confucianism brought in detail, in particular the experiences of women in Choson Korean society.
The essay will ask you to critically discuss the following:
- i. Describe Korean society before the imposition of neo-Confucianism, emphasizing what women’s lives were like. ii. What changes did neo-Confucianism have on women’s lives?
- How was this different from the pre-Choson period? What were the effects of this?
- iii. Why did the forced implementation of Confucianism change the gender construction of Korean society?
- iv. How were women “taught” the new gender expectations under Confucianism?