Courses / Graduate

Spring 2015

  • Graduate Topics in Film: Comedy and Critique

    240 - 001 | CCN: 31864

    Anton Kaes, Deniz Göktürk

    4 Units

    This seminar will examine the social dynamics of laughter across multiple media. A basic impulse of comedy — from slapstick to mockumentary to standup — is to temporarily destabilize and critique the status quo by revealing its unquestioned assumptions and contradictions. In this way the comic mode has affinities to critical theory. It is no surprise that Benjamin, Kracauer, and Adorno wrote repeatedly on Chaplin and on the social function of comic interventions. More recently, comics intervene by mobilizing tactical role-play and inviting the audience to join in their game of exposure. Classic texts on comedy by Freud, Bergson, Benjamin, Adorno, Brecht, and Bakhtin, as well as their forerunners from classical antiquity to German idealism, will help us think through representative examples from various national cinemas and the internet.