New course on satire to be offered

April 3, 2014
Dr. David Gillota

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — This fall, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville will offer a new course, Satire: From Swift to “South Park,” as part of its Thematic Studies in Literature course offerings. Fall registration began March 31.

Satire is generally defined as a work of literature or art that uses humor to critique human follies and institutions. In the course, students will read works from a variety of literary satirists, including Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain. Students will also consider the ways in which contemporary popular culture continues the satirical tradition.

“A study of satire will not only teach students something about a particular literary genre, but it will also provide a window into the ways in which writers and other artists have used their art as a means of challenging institutions of power and social norms,” said Dr. David Gillota, assistant professor of English at UW-Platteville.

“Satire uses humor to critique social norms and people in power,” added Gillota. “This course can play an important role in helping students think about the role that art and literature play in relation to the world. They can also understand the larger tradition that today’s popular satirists – like Jon Stewart from ‘The Daily Show’ or the creators of ‘South Park’ — are participating in.”

Gillota stated that the course will help students hone their reading, analytical and writing skills. He said that by examining satire, students should be able to think more deeply about broad human issues such as morality, ethics and the role of social institutions in our everyday life.

Gillota has been teaching at UW-Platteville since 2008. His critically acclaimed book “Ethnic Humor in Multiethnic America” was published last year by Rutgers University Press. In addition, Gillota has published essays on American humor in the Journal of Popular Film and Television and Journal of Popular Culture. An article he wrote, “Black Nerds: New Direction in African American Humor,” was recently published in Studies in American Humor, the journal of the American Humor Studies Association.

Contact: Dr. David Gillota, department of humanities, (608) 342-1928,

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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