The assessment requires you to design, conduct and write-up a Political Satire and Comedy Project that combines in-depth academic theoretical discussion with political satire and comedy data that you have collected during the duration of the module. The specific nature of this political satire and comedy data is to be determined by you, but it might include historical data, images of political cartoons published now or in the past, publicity stills and/or screen shots from television satire and comedy programmes or political satire and comedic films, excerpts from satirical publications, political satire and comedy performer material, media reviews of stand-up shows, the use of comedy or satire in political speeches and events, and so on.
You will use examples of political satire and comedy that are available in the public domain (online, or on Netflix, television or radio, or in newspapers and magazines) to examine a particular feature of political satire and comedy that relates to the content of the module.
You will need to decide on the specific focus of your Political Satire and Comedy Project, but the focus should be related to one or more of the themes underpinning the module as a whole.
As a reminder, some of these themes are:
• How have the relationships between satire, comedy and politics changed over time?
• How does satire and comedy contribute to the formation, maintenance, strengths and conflicts of political tribes?
• How does humour and comedy strengthen in- and out-group identities and how does this influence wider society?
• What are the relationships between comedy, politics, and identity?
• How useful is satire and comedy for political communications and for effecting political change?
• Which theories or philosophies of comedy and satire are most useful in understanding the relationships of contemporary satire and comedy to power relations?
• How useful is an understanding of satire and comedy to effective forms of journalism?
• What roles do satire and comedy play in the debates about of cancel culture?
• What forms of contemporary comedy and satire are the most useful to marginalised groups in combatting social/cultural oppression or marginalisation?
• What do our own satire and comedy preferences reflect about who we think we are, and what we think about other people?
• What kind of roles does comedy and satire play in the creation of cultural amnesia?
Your choice of specific topic to address in your Political Satire and Comedy Project might be determined by the specific format of satire and comedy covered in the module. Such as: sitcoms, sketch shows, satirical cartoons, spoof interviews, mockumentaries, satirical news, live comedy performance, social media, and memes.
Alternatively, you might choose to select a particular topic covered in the module to analyse in detail. Such as:
satirical/comic constructions of politics and politicians, comedy, satire and cancel culture, the evolution of comedy over time, negotiations and re- articulations of social difference (disability, race, gender, age, class, and ethnicity), or comedy and politics in the pandemic, assessing the power of Juvenalian or Horatian satire in contemporary politics, comedy and power in social media.
You may of course decide to combine a particular format with a particular topic, or topics, covered in the module, e.g. social media, cancel culture, and comedy, or TV new shows/films, and the use of ‘banter’ by contemporary politicians.
Important Things to Note:
• You will need to consider how much comedy data you feel is appropriate for your Political Satire and Comedy Project and where, when and how you will collect the political satire and comedy data. If you envisage possible problems with political satire and comedy data collection, then you need to propose solutions to such problems. Remember that the political satire and comedy data should be based on political satire and comedy that is in the public domain. This this might be political satire and comedy that is online, or on Netflix, television or radio, or in newspapers and magazines.
• What are the costs, if any, involved in collecting the data for your Political Satire and Comedy Project? How do you propose to meet them?
Contents of the Comedy Project
What should be included in your Political Satire and Comedy Project and some suggestions on structuring each section of the Project.
The write-up of the Project should include the following nine sections: 1) A Title (not included in the word count)
This should summarise the focus of the Political Satire and Comedy Project in a few words.
2) Aims of the Political Satire and Comedy Project (about 50 words)
What is the basic idea behind your Political Satire and Project? In other words, what do you aim to find out about the particular aspect of political satire and comedy that you have chosen to analyse?
For example, ‘This Political Satire and Comedy Project aims to examine the way in which Tik Tok supports and challenges normative views of gender/talent/ sexuality in contemporary social life, OR, This Political Satire and Comedy project investigates recent visual satire on contemporary British politics, focusing on the work of Artist Taxi Driver and Cold War Steve.
3) A Rationale for the Focus of the Political Satire and Comedy Project (about 400 words)
Why does the focus of your Political Satire and Comedy Project warrant further investigation?
This could be because of an academic rationale – a question which arises in relation to previous work, or an area of investigation that has been neglected in previous work, but is related to previous work in some way.
Alternatively (or in addition) it might be because of a real-world rationale – a publicly debated issue or topic related to political satire and comedy which merits academic investigation, a new phenomenon, or a social problem related to political satire and comedy (e.g. debates about Cancel Culture).
4) A Detailed Discussion of Relevant Background Academic Literature (about 1100 words)
The Political Satire and Comedy Project should include an account of the academic literature associated with your topic. Think about, and address, the relationship between themes raised in the background literature and your own data gathered for the Project. Is it your aim to analyse some aspect of political satire and comedy that has so far not been touched on; is it to extend the ideas of a particular author/theory by looking at a new or slightly different satirical and comedic text; or is it to test the validity of an already- existing analysis by reapplying the analysis to a different comedic text?
The reading list for the module provides a good starting point for engaging with academic literature on political satire and comedy. However, you are expected to read widely around the topic and to go beyond the essential and further reading by consulting other sources in the library and through library databases. The literature on this topic is exciting so I urge you to explore. You can also use resources such as the Satire Unit in York. Whatever topic you explore through your Political Satire and Comedy Project engaging with political satire and comedy theory and other academic comedy concepts covered during the module is absolutely paramount.
5) A Discussion of the Political Satire and Comedy Data Collected (approximately 300 words)
What is the nature of the political satire and comedy data you have collected in order to address your Project topic? How did you go about collecting the political satire and comedy data for the Project? How did you analyse the data collected, and why did you analyse it in this manner? This requires you to discuss, and justify, the method(s) used when analysing your political satire and comedy data (e.g. semiotic analysis or discourse analysis or content analysis, and so on).
6) Analysis of the Political Satire and Comedy Data Collected (around 1300 words)
This section should be the most substantial one. Having set out the background of your Project and discussed both how you collected the political satire and comedy data and why you analysed it in the way you did, it is important to focus most attention on discussing precisely what you claim to have found out about the topic you have addressed.
The exact way you go about presenting the analysis is up to you: there are no set rules. However, the following broad guidelines may offer you some ideas as to what kinds of issues to focus on.
Structure: Make sure that your analysis ‘tells a good story’ and draws on political satire and comedy theory, political satire and comedy concepts and relevant academic literature. It is one thing to present a set of observations on your political satire and comedy data collected – but consider what those observations mean, how they are related together, and crucially, how they are related to existing relevant political satire and comedy studies literature, theory, and debate. Critically reflect on how your data and analysis contributes to your central question/s using examples from your political satire and comedy data as illustrations of these points. Then end this section by recapitulating what we have learned from this about political satire and comedy.
7) Conclusions (around 350 words)
How does your Project contribute to communication and political understanding of political satire and comedy? You should consider how your Project contributes (however big or small you might feel this contribution is) to general communication and political understanding. You are strongly encouraged to relate your own findings to those you have encountered in the background literature read during the module.
8) Reference List (not included in the word count)
Full bibliographical details of sources used in the Political Satire and Comedy Project must be included. Use the Harvard Reference System (please see Student Handbook for further details)
9) Political Satire and Comedy Data (not included in the word count)
This section should include all the political satire and comedy data you have referred to in the write-up of your Project. The might include images of cartoons (all referenced), links to, and images from Instagram Twitter, and Tik Tok, transcripts of political satire and comedy radio shows that you have referred to, reviews of political satire and comedy performances that you have attended and commented on, photocopies of DVD publicity of political satire and comedy programmes you have analysed, transcripts of extracts/stills of scenes from political satire and comedies that you have watched and referred to in your write-up
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