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American Humor

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Minimum Credits: 
In addition to tracing some general origins of laughter and comedy, this course offers students the opportunity to explore several distinctly American forms of humor. From Native-American trickster tales to the public humiliation of American Idol contestants, Americans have utilized humor in unique and diverse ways. American stereotypes of individuality and inventiveness have guided humorists from Mark Twain to Stephen Colbert. By examining the social, psychological, political and literary uses of humor, we will begin to understand how humor has been used to transgress social boundaries and define the 147American character.148