ENGL 2792 - M Comedy and Satire
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COURSE DESCRIPTION What makes jokes funny? Can humor really effect social change? These are two of the questions we will consider as we think about comedy and satire, as distinct genres and as particular modes of expression. We also will think about why we laugh. Do we laugh for catharsis – a therapeutic release of tension – as Freud argues? Do we laugh at the unexpected or out of a sense of superiority? To understand why we laugh will help us explore the ways comedy and satire shapes our thoughts, the stories we tell each other, and our everyday lives and experiences. Over the course of the semester we will tell and analyze jokes and standup routines; we will read satiric essays, newspapers, and fiction; watch sketch comedy routines, TV shows, and films; and find and create internet memes. Along the way we will also read theoretical pieces on comedy and satire in order to help us better understand the ways comedy and satire can influence our sense of ourselves and others. COURSE GOALS The goals for the course are as follows: • To enhance our understanding of humor, both as an interaction between individuals and as a device used in comedy and satire; • To become familiar with the conventions associated with of comedy and satire as distinct genres and as literary, visual and dramatic devices. • To explore the use of comedy and satire in many forms and from different periods and cultures; • To think about comedy and satire as vehicles for social and political commentary and change; • To learn about our own responses to comedy and satire and what that reaction says about our own tastes and convictions. LEARNING OBJECTIVES By the end of the semester you will have: • Read, analyzed, written about and discussed examples of comedy and satire in diverse formats from different periods and cultures; • Produced your own comic or satirical work.
Nachumi, Nora. (2021, Spring), Syllabus, ENGL 2792 - M Comedy and Satire, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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