Viveca Greene

Associate Professor of Media Studies
Viveca Greene
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Viveca Greene
Music and Dance Building 110

Viveca Greene, associate professor of media studies, earned a Ph.D. from the communication department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as the university's highest teaching honor: The Distinguished Teaching Award. She holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz.  

Professor Greene is co-editor (with Ted Gournelos) of A Decade of Dark Humor: How Comedy, Irony, and Satire Shaped Post-9/11 America (University Press of Mississippi, 2011). Her work has appeared in Social Semiotics, In Media Res, The Nation, and We the Media: A Citizen's Guide to Fighting for Media Democracy. Slated for publication in 2019 are her articles on toxic uses of irony and social media (Studies in American Humor) and on feminist satire and rape culture (Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society), and an essay on racist trolling and critical humor studies (The Joke Is on Us: Political Comedy in Late Neoliberal Times).

She teaches courses on satire, audience research, and critical media studies.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • As one recent US President noted, the new media ecosystem "means everything is true and nothing is true." Banned from all top social media platforms, including Twitter, the President's predecessor launched Truth Social as the flagship application of his social media platform, which Vanity Fair characterizes as "a cringeworthy joke." Working within the interdisciplinary field of media studies, in this course we will take a case-study approach to exploring contemporary issues related to the post-truth world order: disinformation, fake news, deepfakes, crisis actor claims, conspiracy theories, and the like. In so doing, we will be attentive to creative and satirical responses to such challenges, as well as consider the need for public institutions to intervene. Students will write weekly responses to assigned texts, conduct independent research, produce a final paper on a topic of their own choosing, and participate in an end-of-semester mini-conference. Keywords: disinformation, misinformation, meme magic, 4chan, activism.

  • Stand up, sketch comedy, satirical news, and memes: How do these and other humor-related cultural forms allow us to speak the unspeakable, to challenge and/or uphold the status quo, and to consolidate community? What are the limitations of these cultural forms? In this discussion-based and writing-intensive course, students will grapple with humor's many social functions, and consider the extent to which humor is an effective means of addressing wars, white supremacy, rape culture, presidential power, and other weighty issues. Course readings will include literature by scholars in communication, media studies, sociology, psychology, political science, and ethnic studies, which students will draw from in analyzing satirical performances, comedic television programs, and digital content in class, blog posts, and essays. Ultimately students will produce a final research paper on a humor-related topic of their own choosing, which they will present to the class.