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Laughter and Politics
COL 107
Spring 2011
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: HIST 107

This course proposes a historical exploration of the relationship between humor and political order. Divided in three blocks (democracy, carnival, and commodity), the course travels from the ancient Athenian democracy and the Roman empire (where political comedy and satire acquired their canonical form and radical status), through the carnivals of the middle ages and the Renaissance (where hierarchies and conventions were ridiculed and temporarily put upside-down), to the modern world (where political laughter risks becoming a simple commodity for mass consumption). Is laughter inherently good or bad for the political sphere? Does it help creating a healthy citizenship? Does it liberate or alienate the individuals? The course will explore this and other questions by analyzing learned and popular expressions of political humor, with an eye in the classical tradition (Aristophanes, Erasmus, Swift...) and the other in its contemporary formulations (comic books, TV shows, websites, and street art).

Essential Capabilities: Effective Citizenship, Interpretation
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 JUL-20-2024
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