African American Satire
Are you a follower of The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl? Do Key and Peele seem like some of the more insightful observers of contemporary life? Are you interested in the ways that different forms of satirical humor work as commentary, critique and catalyst? In this class, we will track the evolution of African American satire, examining its landmark literary and cultural texts, including novels, essays, theater, films, sketch comedy, and popular music, from the 19th century to the present day. We will examine the ways that these texts shape history and our conceptions of cultural memory. We will pursue the following questions: What is at stake in the satirical mode for these artists? What are the politics of their satirical practices? What are the myriad ways that subversive black comedy acts upon its audience? What cultural tropes and modes do these texts put into play? All of the artists we will explore this quarter have contributed to the evolution of a specifically African American oeuvre of satire, one that crosses genres, audiences and historical epochs. We will train our focus on the burgeoning movement of post-Civil Rights black satire.