- Code SCOM6006
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Science Communication
- Areas of interest Cultural Studies, Science, Science Communication
This course is offered in online mode only. The intensive component of this course will be delivered 11-15 Jul.
How can humour – and what kind of humour – be used in science communication? What does comic performance offer to understanding the public image and pop cultural narratives of science? What can we learn from comic scientists about science? (e.g. in the Nutty Professor films or comic Frankenstein stories) How can we use the Joker – ‘spreading’ laughter in DC comics and animated films – to teach virology? Or what does Todd Phillips’s 2019 Joker blockbuster teach us about neurology? What can we learn from the interplay between forensic science and comic zombies in splatstick films (from Braindead or Zombieland to iZombie) for the communication of science?
Humour, this course elucidates, it not only one of the most powerful tools in communication, and a great way to bring science to the public, but it also shapes – and has been shaping – cultural ideas of sciences. The course thus investigates both, the ways science has influenced and generated rich and fascinating comic traditions in popular culture, and how humour and comic performance have shaped cultural ideas of sciences and ‘science humour’. It looks at the exchange between popular entertainment and science in various media (e.g. comics, film, fiction) over the last 150 years – the course is a conversation between the past, present and future – and clarifies the power of humour for bringing science and scientists into the general public discussion.
Note: This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Examine and evaluate the importance and value of humour and comic performance in the communication of science and the discipline of science communication.
- Analyse the social and ethical implications of humour in science-related contexts and for their own lives.
- Discover the diversity of pop cultural ideas and fictional narratives around science from the last 150 years in a variety of different media and explain their significance for today’s access to and understanding of science as and in culture.
- Select, examine and (creatively) present material explaining the role of humour, comedy and comic performance for the public perceptions of science.
- Critically appraise science humour contexts through application of appropriate discovery based learning techniques.
- Increase skills to engage with and communicate to a range of stakeholders.
This course is conducted entirely online.
To participate in this course, you will need:
- A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
- Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
- Speakers/headset and a microphone.
- Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
For more information visit https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements
- Written reflection on the use of humour and humour theories for science communication (in two parts) (25) [LO 1,2]
- 3min video exploring one of three questions about the links between science, humour and society (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Science and Humour project proposal (including methods and literature review) (25) [LO 1,3,4,5,6]
- Original Science and Humour research project or humour-based science communication product (35) [LO 1,3,4,5,6]
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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the session including:
- Five day online intensive (35 hours) including lectures and interactive online and offline activities.
- Approximately 95 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.
Students will complete assessments (1) and (2) during the week and complete assessment (3 and 4) in the weeks or months after the intensive week.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
Readings will be included in the class summary on the course Wattle site.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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