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Course Information

Instructor Info:Viveca Greene
TA Info:Marguerite Sacerdote
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
01:00 PM - 02:20 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221
01:00 PM - 02:20 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221

Shortly after September 11th many journalists suggested that the attacks marked the death of irony. Nevertheless, irony, parody and political satire were used to challenge the Bush Administration's response to the attacks. How do these forms of communication allow people to speak the unspoken, to challenge the political, social and cultural status quo, and to consolidate community? What are the limitations of these rhetorical strategies? Using irony as a means of exploring cultural theory and politics, we will grapple with its social functions, the extent to which it has been an effective means of addressing issues such as the War on Terror and racial inequality, and why -- despite what commentators have argued -- irony shows no signs of losing its cultural hold in the United States. In addition to gaining familiarity with relevant cultural and social theory, students will read and write analyses of specific satirical cartoons, comedic television programs and online publications.

Evaluation Criteria:

In order to receive an evaluation for the course, students must attend class regularly. No more than two absences are permitted, unless students have a documented medical issue or family emergency. Even if you miss class, you are responsible for posting or physically submitting the written assignment. You are also expected to come to class with hard copies of the assigned readings (ideally in the course reading packet), ready to discuss those readings. All students must complete all Moodle forum posts, the short essay assignments, and elements of the final paper assignment in order to receive an evaluation for the course. If you do not complete a Moodle post on time, on one occasion I will allow you to make it up by posting a response to the next set of readings; you must contact me so that we can arrange that though and I will very likely ask you to present the next set of readings to the class. For the other assignments, late papers will not be accepted unless you contact me in advance about extenuating circumstances and if any assignment is more than one week late (as of the beginning of the class period one week from when it was due), I will immediately indicate on the hub that you will not receive an evaluation for the course so as to make that information available to your advisor and to the CASA staff. At the end of the semester you must also make a final presentation (8-10 minutes) to the class on your final paper. Finally, you must submit a portfolio with all of your Moodle posts, short essays, all versions of your final paper, and presentation notes at the end of the semester. I do not give incompletes, as incompletes create and/or exacerbate academic difficulty.

Additional Info:

Course readings will be available in a bound reading packet for $40. Compiling the readings into a packet entails more work on my end, but I feel strongly about everyone having hard copies of the readings to mark up and bring to class for the discussions, and my doing so will definitely save you time and money. All reading will be available via the course website if you prefer to read on a computer, or if you are ever separated from your reading packet and need to do the reading online. Please bring your reading packet to every class though. Laptop use is not permitted in class; it’s distracting to me and other students.