By subtly deconstructing regime narratives, Syrian political parodies have played a vital role in undermining the Asad regime while operating within the framework of government co-optation. In this course, we will examine the televised theatrical productions of plays written by the late poet Muhammad al-Maghut - such as Day'at Tishrin (October Village) in 1974, al-Ghurba (Alienation) in 1975, and Kasak ya Watan (Cheers to the Homeland) in 1977 - which brought sarcastic theater to the focal point of Syrian entertainment. We will then examine the multi-sketch comedy Buq'at Daw', inaugurated in 2001, which openly discussed taboo topics such as state corruption, sectarianism, and the villainous secret police. Syrian citizens generally argue that the Asad regime uses politically critical programming as a safety valve to release frustrations, and scholars have drawn on this theory of tanfis. In this course, students will debate this concept. We will also discuss the role of political parodies during the uprising, and the role of the artist in general when it comes to revolution. This course is conducted entirely in Arabic.
Satisfies Visual and Performing Arts requirement.
ARB 202 or placement. (Fall)