An Introduction to Korean History. Korea is an ancient land with a history that dates back well before recorded history. This course offers an overview of Korean history, and while it deals briefly with certain features of pre-modern history, the primary focus is on the history of modern Korea (1890s to the present day). The narrative includes Korea’s nationalist awakening, its subjection by Japan, the post-World War II division of the Korean Peninsula, and South Korea’s dramatic, rapid evolution from one of the poorest countries in Asia to one of the richest. Students are exposed to the prevailing themes of that history, including the repeated foreign invasions and occupations of the Korean Peninsula, the resilience of Korean culture in the face of those assaults, and the social and cultural tragedy of the current division of Korea.