Section Information for Summer 2020
This course explores the role of humor and satire in global political discourse. We begin the course with an examination of the work of Habermas, as well as those who have appropriated and/or critiqued his formulation of the public sphere. This discussion will be followed by a consideration of humor and satire as a form of political communication, drawing on Bakhtin’s discussion of the carnivalesque. In the second part of the course, we will consider how scholars have taken up these theoretical frameworks to analyze the use of entertainment television (such as The Daily Show in the US and Les Guignols de l'info in France) to promote public debate. Students will be asked to critically evaluate the concept of the public sphere as they consider whether, why, and how particular media forms allow for (or fail to allow for) critical engagement with issues of public concern. They will also be asked to consider the potential and limits of dissident laughter in effecting political change. Course readings and critical media viewing will allow us to consider how cultural, economic, and political context shapes what circulates where and why. Through an examination of these various topics, this course aims to consider what it might mean for media to be “democratic.”
GLOA 400 B01 is a distance education section.