English 420: Satire in Literature and Popular Culture

Course No: 1420
Subject: English
Grade Level: 12
Course Length: Semester
Course Type: Elective
UC/CSU Subject Approval: B
Prerequisite: English 100 or 103H; 200 or 203H; 300 or 303H
Criteria for Enrollment: None
Fulfillments: Eight-semester graduation requirement

This is a course designed to analyze how art uses satire to question the major social and political challenges of our times. Effective satire often tries to institute a change in thought or behavior either on the part of the subject of the satire, the audience, or the reader.  Using a variety of critical lenses, students will explore satire in the essay, short story, novel, film, and in popular representation in the media. Students will be able to differentiate between farce, spoof, parody, irony, and satire, and use those skills in creative projects of their own. Students will also write an analytical research paper to explore the ways that satire can be used to change hearts and minds.  Some sample texts include: A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift; Candide, Voltaire; Mister Monkey, Francine Prose; selected articles by Christopher Hitchens, Alessandra Stanley, Nora Ephron; Text from Adbusters, The Onion, & topical, popular memes; and films such as Mean Girls, Shrek, Brazil.