Jun 22, 2024  
Course Catalog 2021-2022 
Course Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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 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’ and display the vulnerabilities of fairy tale protagonists, telling an overarching story of adolescent temptations and growth, their 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 fairy tales collected and edited by the brothers Grimm 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.

Credits 1