As a Korean-American, I have an interest in expanding Korean studies at the University.
But personal preferences aside, I see a demand for the major among students.
“Without Korean, no major university can say that they have a proper East Asian studies program,”
Hyangsoon Yi, professor in comparative literature and Korean, said in an interview.
The University’s East Asian program doesn’t emphasize wider Korean studies. Yi said students turn in research papers that lack enough secondary sources
because the library’s resources are inadequate.
“The students have no idea what’s out there.
No university in the Southeast has a major Korean program,
so the University is favorably positioned to establish itself as an important center for Korean studies.
Unquestionably, there is a thriving Korean-American community in Georgia.
A Korean Consulate General is located in Atlanta, and there are growing economic ties between South Korea and the United States.
Kia Motors is planning to build its first U.S. auto assembly plant in Georgia.
There are cultural ties, as well. Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, is the rise of Korean popular culture that has swept Asia.
Korean television dramas, films and music are popular throughout Asia, which has increased tourism and interest in South Korea.
“Korea has played a very important role in East Asian dynamics,” said Yi. “Therefore, Korean history and culture deserve adequate attention.”