Staying #GlobalFromHome: South Korea

by Stranger’s Guide


Stranger’s Guide: South Korea is out now!

To celebrate, today we’re featuring ways you can engage and learn more about South Korea.

Our guidebook offers a compelling portrait of this fascinating country, from its exceptionally effective response to COVID-19 to the thriving film and music industries. Additionally, you can learn about Samsung’s enormous role in national affairs, the feminist movement challenging beauty standards and hear voices from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. 

Join the conversation by replying to this email or by using #GlobalFromHome when you post on social media


1. Listen


K-pop isn’t just a musical genre. Korean artists often get their break in big televised talent competitions, but by the time they’re on TV, they’ve already been recruited by production companies that have spent thousands training them in song and dance, as well as curating their looks. Want a primer on K-pop sounds? Check out this Spotify playlist.



2. Explore


In conjunction with Google, Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has produced some interactive exhibits, showcasing, among other things, the work of Korean artist Yoo Youngkuk whose abstract nature paintings are full of color and vitality; and trailblazer video artist Park Hyun-Ki



3. Watch

When Parasite took home four Academy Awards at this year’s Oscars, including the gong for best picture—the first non-English film to win it—the spotlight was firmly on Korean film. Since its genesis in 1945, the cinema of South Korea has been heavily influenced by big political and social events in its history, like Japanese occupation, the Korean War, censorship and the coming of democracy. Thanks to the Korean Film Archive, you can watch 125 feature films for free on the Open Culture website.





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Banned Bard

When French poet Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in 1857, he was prosecuted after 13 of the 100 poems were deemed inappropriate for public consumption and would “lead to the excitement of the senses by a crude realism offensive to public decency.” Among them were six poems thought to be pornographic. These were “Lesbos,” “Femmes damnés,” “Le Léthé,” “À celle qui est trop gaie,” “Les Bijoux” and “Les Métamorphoses du Vampire.” Baudelaire was fined 50 francs, but Les Fleurs du Mal ultimately became his most famous work, offering a critique of Paris during the industrial revolution, and influencing countless other poets after him.