American Satire | Newberry

American Satire

Thursday, November 10, 2016

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Dr. Larry Howe, Roosevelt University
Full, waitlist available
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

The long history of satire in American culture suggests that we’re a witty and cranky people. Part of this comes from a tradition of free speech. American satirical tendencies also seem to follow from the Enlightenment traditions that helped to form our ideological foundations. The Enlightenment philosophers were skeptical by temperament, questioning why institutions and behaviors took certain forms and critiquing them. Satire, though, distinguishes itself from other forms of critique by its reliance on humor. In this seminar, we’ll look at a range of American satire from colonial writings as early as the 17 th century to the contemporary moment. Participants will be asked to think about the variety of purposes, targets, and strategies of satire. And we’ll discuss the effects of satire on audiences, and the boundaries of taste that satire may sometimes transgress. We’ll consider the forms in which satire is presented-in print: whether in a full-length novel, a newspaper, a mock newspaper like The Onion; in song: such as those by Tom Lehrer in the 1960s, Randy Newman in the 70s and 80s, or hip-hop in the contemporary moment; or visual media: a television program like SNL or The Daily Show, YouTube videos, or a feature film. Finally we’ll discuss ways of studying satire and talking about it in the classroom.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Teachers’ Consortium members may register for this seminar through their designated membership contact as space permits. Non-member educators may register for this seminar by purchasing an individual membership at the time of registration. Registration for all NTC seminars opens Wednesday, September 7, 2016. For more information about NTC membership, please contact Charlotte Ross, Teacher Programs Manager, at

The seminar will be followed by a catered lunch. Registrants should RSVP for lunch to assist Teacher Programs staff in reducing waste.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for this seminar will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff.