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Week 6 Reflection

This week we had a class period devoted to open access textbooks. I had never thought of the idea before, so it was interesting to learn more. I think the idea could be helpful not just financially but also with being able to consolidate sources. In history, we spend a lot of time looking through different sources and interpreting or analyzing those sources. If the sources were all in one place it would be more accessible and easier to learn.

In reading the primary sources for class on Friday I assumed that the relationship between Parhae and the Tang dynasty were not all that bad. However, when diving deeper, it became apparent that things were not as good as they seemed. In fact the relations between Parhae and the Tang dynasty were not that different from the relations between Tang and Goguryeo.

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Week 5 Reflection

This week in class we discussed how Silla became a dominant power after Goguryeo fell. Goguryeo fell due to both exhaustion and internal strife which were caused by the death of Yeon Gaesomun. From there, there are stories of the sons of Gaesomun fighting for the power that their father once had. These conflicts between families are not directly linked to Korea. All across history there are stories of brothers fighting each other for the power that they believe they should have inherited. The connection between European history and Korean is undeniable when it comes to this family conflict. It is important to recognize that Goguryeo falling was a pivotal point in Korean history because it was once a powerful kingdom that encompassed a good amount of culture for the entire country of Korea. However, I guess all good things come to an end. And the event certainly had an impact on the rest of Korea as there is even a TV show dedicated to it.

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Week 4 Reflection Overview

During the first four weeks of Korean History, I have engaged in class materials, found different ways to prepare for class, written weekly reflections, and recognized patterns in the materials that were taught. These skills have set me up nicely for the rest of the semester even though it has just been the beginning classes. By improving and learning more every class, I think this semester of Korean History, a subject that I had never previously studied, can continue to expand my knowledge of not only Korea but also the world around us.

The fact that we were able to come up with the topics we wanted to study this semester has really made the class material more personal and easier to learn. As far as the primary and secondary sources that I was provided, I found it difficult to understand them at first. But as time went on class after class, I was able to understand Korean language better which, in turn, gave me the skills necessary to better connect with the class material. I think the ability to read the sources well and comprehend them will become even easier the more sources that I read and evaluate. 

Preparing for class has been somewhat of a challenge for me. I like the fact that we had an input in what we are learning, but when it comes to reading the chapters of the textbook I still struggle putting the pieces together between what names go with what kingdoms and what time period I am learning about. Because the language is foreign to me and I do not have a good background on Korea as a whole, I constantly have to remind myself what we learned before and how that connects with what we are learning now. As far as the website goes, I am not very good with technology, so I know my website is a little bland. This is something that I want to work on so that I can create more appealing posts and hopefully inspire others to look at my website.

Weekly reflections have helped me throughout this course. By going back and reminding myself of what we did during the week, I can better remember what was taught. It also gives me a platform to dive deeper into the material. For example, I found it very interesting to learn about how historians gather information about a time period’s culture by examining the tombs that were made for the aristocrats at that time. When we learned about that in class, I wanted to know more so I spent more time, while writing my weekly reflection, researching archaeology and how historians examine the tombs. The weekly reflections give me more motivation to dive deeper and explore the subjects that we talked about in class or read about in the readings. 

Because we have not made it super far into the course yet, it is difficult to recognize patterns in Korean History. However, with the knowledge that I now have of the Three Kingdoms, I can see how the order of the Three Kingdoms came into place and the conflict that Korea still has today with China over what culture belongs to what country. Learning about Buddhism briefly last class has helped me realize that The Three Kingdoms adopted the religion from China because China held a lot of power in that time period and Korea wanted in on the action. 

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Week 4 Reflection

This week we went to the library and critiqued articles that were assigned to us on the conflict between Korea and China regarding what history and culture belongs to what country. I find it interesting that these conflicts still occur today because I would think eventually the two countries would agree on having shared history and culture. I guess not. It was good for us to look at different articles and critique them so that when we are looking for sources we can weed out the good ones from the bad. It was also beneficial for us to learn Korean pronunciations as we did in class on Friday. Now that I have a basic understanding of the language, I am able to get through readings faster and more efficiently. I am not very good at picking up other languages, but at least I can grasp the Korean language a little better. I also found it interesting that some South Korean pronunciations are different from North Korean pronunciations. This notion reminds me of the different dialects we have here in the United States, where people from different parts of the country pronounce words differently.

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Week 3 Reflection

This week in class we discussed the Three Kingdoms a little more in detail. The term eunemerism was was used referring to Greek gods created from real stories about humans and historical events. As historians, we must distinguish between what is a myth, legend, or the truth and sometimes that can be difficult, especially if events were not documented when they were happening. We talked about archaeology being a way that historians learn about places and culture but it if difficult to know where to start digging when country boundaries were different long ago. Because stories being passed on generation after generation are not always accurate, it is important for historians to find what is the truth and what is a myth.

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This is a photograph from Google images of archaeologists digging at North Korea’s Full Moon Tower