Laughing it Off: Forms and Uses of Modern Political Satire (Honors Course)

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Laughing it Off: Forms and Uses of Modern Political Satire (Honors Course)

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study

    Film Studies, Literature, Political Science, Studio Art

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    WP 1010 Introduction to Academic Writing

    WP 1111 Integrated Academic Writing and Ethics

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    This Honors seminar invites students to engage in a critical exploration of political satire in art, literature and film. Students will be exposed to different types of satirical expression, and will be led to consider satire as a gesture of political resistance. Students also examine satire in connection with issues such as the limits to freedom of expression, censorship, and social responsibility.


    From the satirical dissection of middle-class life, to the critique of totalitarianism, social alienation and imperialism, satire in art, literature and film has issued a constructive challenge to socio-political pathologies, calling for increased political awareness and civic action. At the same time, however, satire has been accused of propaganda, or of overstepping the boundaries of free expression to attack religious and social sensibilities. This latter dimension of satire is evident throughout modern history, from the Nazi anti-jazz and anti-Semitic propaganda, to some of Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons. In this context and through study of a variety of interdisciplinary materials, students are led to discover the latent socio-political and ethical dimensions of satire.


    Upon completion of the course, the students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate awareness of the varied socio-historical contexts of political satire;

    2. Examine articulations of political satire through art, literature, and film;

    3. Analyze the mechanisms through which satire’s aesthetic elements generate political meaning;

    4. Identify the ideological and political power of satirical texts and images across cultures;

    5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of concepts treated in the course through a variety of projects and presentations.


    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the seminar will employ the following tools:

    • Textual analysis, class discussion, and group work during class meetings; 2
    • Active student-centered teaching approach;
    • Individual student presentations;
    • Extensive instructor feedback on presentations and essays;
    • Individualized assistance during office hours for additional reading, presentations and essays;
    • Film and Documentary screenings;
    • Other relevant educational material placed on reserve in the library.

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