This course engages critical thinking skills to explore controversial cultural questions currently at play in Korean Studies. To that end, we will critically examine the perceptions, theories, arguments, and proposed solutions to some of the most difficult and vexing social issues in Korean culture today. Although we will explore the many different perceptions and opinions about these cultural issues, this course engages a social scientific approach, as it seeks to analyze the central institutions and mechanisms that social scientists argue are responsible for creating, reproducing, reducing and changing the structure of inequalities in South Korean society today. We will look at how these institutions and mechanisms effect a variety of different groups and sectors, including families, neighborhoods, education, and labor markets, to name a few. Within each topic area, we will pay special attention to the significance of race and ethnicity, social class and gender and how they combine to produce different outcomes in terms of analysis and cultural experience. Although our focus is on contemporary cultural issues, we will also place each topic in broader historical and political contexts.