Universität Wien FIND
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123251 AR Literature Course - Literature 1/2 (MA) British/Irish/New English & Cultural Studies (2020W)

A bundle of laughs? Analysing humour

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work

in preparation


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 23 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 05.10. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 12.10. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 19.10. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 09.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 16.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 23.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 30.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 07.12. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 14.12. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 11.01. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 18.01. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 25.01. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The last months, and certainly the summer term, hasn’t exactly been a bundle of laughs. Yet, one characteristic of Corona-related communication has been the abundance of jokes, comedy videos and puns that the undoubtedly serious situation has engendered. For many, this was a way of coping.
This term we will look at humour in all academic seriousness and analyse its structures, its genres and its effects. On the basis of humour theory (which is not going to be a bundle of laughs), we will analyse what it is that makes us smile, cringe or roll over with laughter. I will provide a large selection of verbal and multimodal texts (that I hope are funny for you, too!) for you to choose from, as a group and indivually, and the theory necessary to understand the workings of comedy and jokes.
In this online course, we will “meet” regularly on BigBlueButton (or an another tool that turns out to offer better communication tools), via a link on moodle, at the stated time (except on October 19, which will be an asynchronous unit). To take part in these meetings, please make sure you have access to a computer and an internet connection that is stable enough to enable you full participation with mic and camera. You will also need a camera and a microphone (inbuilt or webcam) for our sessions, and a headset would be preferable. The meetings will be recorded.

Assessment and permitted materials

Presence and participation in the online meetings is mandatory. You can have two absences. Please make sure you watch the recordings of any sessions you have missed and bring yourselves up to date on tasks and readings.
You will be expected to prepare short multimodal presentations to share with your colleagues, post shorter written assignments and, at the end of term, hand in a longer piece of writing.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The grade will consist of the following:
Participation (online participation in live sessions and asynchronous tasks) 20%
Presentation and online discussion (due Nov 3) 20%
2 short assignments of 500-550 words each (Nov 23 and Dec 14) 30%
Final assignment of 4000-4400 words each (due Feb 7) 30%
Each of these needs to be positive (55% each). The minimum to pass this class altogether is 60%.
Grading scale:
Max. 100 pts; Pass rate: 60%
Grading scale:
100-90 Sehr Gut
91-80 Gut
81-70 Befriedigend
71-60 Genügend
59-0 Nicht Genügend

Examination topics

The assignments and the texts on which they are based will be posted on moodle.

Reading list

The theoretical texts on humour analyses (by critics such as Freud, Bergson, Attardo and others) will be posted on moodle. A number of books, films, clips, comics, poems, series and other formats will be listed on moodle, and there will be a space for you to post your own suggestions.
To give you a taste: apart from British literature, such as Alan Bennet’s The Uncommon Reader, and British comedy (such as the hilarious Miranda), I will also discuss texts, comedy programmes, podcasts and series, including those with or by artists of a black or Asian British background (Jackie Kay, Patience Agbabi, Goodess Gracious Me, The Mash Report, BBC Summer Comedy Festival...).

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344; MA 844; MA 844(2); MA UF 046/507
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.4-323-325; MA4, MA6, MA7; MA 3.1, 3.2; M04A
Lehrinhalt: 12-3251

Last modified: Mo 05.10.2020 10:09