Political cartoons: the Illustrated History of America
(Politikai karikatúra: Amerika képes története) in spring 2019
, Thu 15:00–16:30
seminar, 30 h/term
description & set texts
Political cartoons can be interpreted as visual diaries that help us understand the events, issues, and people that have shaped the United States. Some of these cartoons might be candid, educational, libertarian, scornful, conservative, satirical, funny, and even puzzling, but generally all of them are sharply observant of the changes in American society and politics. During the course we will study the history of the United States by analyzing and discussing the work of prominent political cartoonists. Political cartoonists have covered a wide range of topics via their thought-provoking illustrations during various moments in American history. The selection of cartoons deal with such topics as the American Revolutionary War, the territorial expansion of the United States and American Imperialism, slavery in America, the Civil War, immigration and the Nativist Movement, the Gilded Age, the Spanish-American War, the Labor and Progressive Movement, the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression, the foreign policy of the United States and the home front during the Great War and World War II, the Cold War Era, and the Civil Rights Movement. In order to foster and encourage critical thinking the illustrations will be analyzed in their historical context in order to discuss their meaning and message, how they reflect the given time period.
Recommended Readings: Fischer, Roger A. (1996): Them Damned Pictures: Explorations in American Political Cartoon Art. North Haven, CT: Archon Books; Frank, Tibor and Magyarics Tamás (2018): Handouts for U.S. History: A Study Guide and Workbook. 3rd. Revised Edition. Budapest: Antall József Knowledge Centre; Hess, Stephen, and Milton Kaplan (1975): The Ungentlemanly Art: A History of American Political Cartoons. Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing; Husband, Tony (ed.) (2015): America In Cartoons: A history in pictures. Arcturus; Navasky, Victor S. (2013): The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and their Enduring Power. New York: Alfred A. Knopf; The National Archives (ed.): America and the World. Foreign Affairs in Political Cartoons, 1898-1940. eBook; The National Archives (ed.): Representing Congress: Clifford K. Berryman’s Political Cartoons. eBook.
requirements & assessment
Continuous assessment of your work throughout the semester.
1. End-term exam: 40 Points; the exam will assess the student’s knowledge of the course material and the recommended literature.
2. Presentation and Essay: 30 Points (15 Points, Presentation / 15 Points, Essay); the student has to give a 10 to 15 minute long presentation on a political cartoon or cartoonist, an essay should be prepared in which the student summarizes his or her thoughts on the topic, and it has to be handed in on time. The Essay should be minimum 4 pages long, and according to the MLA Formatting and Style Guide.
3. Classroom participation and work: 30 Points (10 Points, Attendance / 20 Points, Homework); regular attendance is mandatory (no more than 3 absences), preparedness for the class, completed reading assignments and homework, and contribution to the class discussion. Students will have to hand in 4 political cartoon analysis worksheets during the semester on a cartoon of their choice, which will count for their class work.
Failing to complete the end-term exam and the presentation/essay, as well as having more than three absences, will result in a failed grade.