Feb 24, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024

GER 298 - K-Pop and the German Fairy Tale

What is the secret behind the immense popularity of BTS and BlackPink? Why and how have K-drama, -music, and -cuisine developed into a socio-economic powerhouse whose export value has become a substantial percentage of the South Korean nation’s GDP? This “Korean wave” or Hallyu hasn’t occurred by accident but is the result of governmental policies and the strategic cultivation of “idols” by an entertainment industry that needed territorial expansion for its own survival. This course examines how Hallyu, especially K-pop, has been a deliberate tool of soft power and how especially the K-drama and K-music industries have embraced and adapted the heroes and heroines of the German Grimm fairy tales. We will look into the development and marketing of the artists’ images and how they are grounded on the persona of the ‘underdog’. They display the vulnerabilities of fairy tale protagonists, telling an overarching story of adolescent temptations and growth and reveal , conflicts between carnal instincts and moral self-realization. We will also investigate how the constructed imagery of “idols” today conforms to the bourgeois taste and the engendered patriarchal ideology of 19th century Germany that shaped and structured the Grimm fairy tales as well as those adapted a century later by Walt Disney. Moreover, K-pop’s continual artistic self-reinvention and active participation by their fan bases have started to challenge western notions of gender and its monolithic concept of (hyper) femininity and masculinity. It is at these crossroads of East and West, race, and gender that we take an in-depth look back to the original German fairy tale and its global reach into 21st century K-pop. Taught in English.

Credits 1

From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum.  Last offered Fall 2021.