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Laughter and Political Order: History, Comedy, Satire
COL 107
Fall 2009
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: HIST 107

This course is intended as a general introduction to how laughter has affected social and political order in diverse historical contexts. We will explore comedy, satire, parody, and other artistic and comon-life expressions of laughter, in relation to the issue of socio-political order. Is laughter an individual expression of freedom and independence from power? Or does it depend on collective values and shared expectations, implying, as such, certain social and political ideas? How do laughter and joy define identities, communities and--eventually--violence (the ones who laugh vs. the ones who are laughed at)? Can we establish a general theory of the politics of laughter, or do its effects on social order depend on very specific historical circumstances? How does laughter affect political order, and how does political order define the object and the poetics of laughter? Does joy and ridicule function as a mere escape valve, or can we talk of a genuine politics of laughter?

The readings for this course will include not only canonical texts of comedy and satire, but also samples of minor pieces that played an important role in propaganda or contestation throughout history. We will also discuss theoretical approaches to the politics of laughter through the ages.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA COL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on NOV-30-2023
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