Main content start

Militant Mischief: Radical Humor as Civil Disobedience in Postwar America

AMSTUD
109
Instructors
Greer, J. (PI)
Section Number
1
It is Halloween, 1967. Thousands of hippies costumed as witches and warlocks encircle the US Pentagon to perform a mock exorcism in protest of the Vietnam War. It is 1968, and a contingent of feminists crash a beauty pageant, and allegedly burn their bras to raise consciousness about the objectification of women. As a demonstration against animal cruelty, radical environmentalists in the 1980s dump red paint on celebrities wearing fur coats. All of these theatrical protests speak to a subtradition of postwar American political activism that blurs the boundaries between pranking and protest. In this course, we will explore how American activists have weaponized humor in protest movements through the use of guerrilla theatre, pranks, hacking, and memes. Focus will be directed towards movements that are serious but not sober, and the tradition of carnivalesque activism that links the anti-war movement, women's liberation and abortion activism, eco-radicalism, and Black Lives Matter. Altogether, this course will take humor seriously as a key component in the protest movements that have sought to change the landscape of modern American culture.
Academic Career
Undergraduate
Grading
Letter or Credit/No Credit
Requirements
WAY-A-II
Units
3-5
Academic Year
Quarter
Winter
Section Days
Tuesday Thursday
Start Time
3:00 PM
End Time
4:20 PM
Location
Encina West 101