The following course list is representative of the courses offered at Emerson College and does not reflect current course availability. Current students should use register.emerson.edu to browse available courses.

  • BC320 Topics in Business Enterprises: Crossing Cultures: Appreciation, Accommodation, Appropriation

    4 Credits

    Why did the singer Iggy Azalea get called out for her “blackcent” and for musical appropriation? Why did Urban Outfitters get into a very public and unflattering fight with the Navajo Nation over their sale of blankets with traditional Navajo patterns? Why did the recent release of the movie “Mulan” create a huge PR headache for Disney? Culture grows organically and locally, but as its appreciation widens and grows, its value disseminates and multiplies. The tussle can last for generations. It can transform culture, but it can create fissures as well. In this course, we look at every point in the process, and we look from a variety of vantage points: the local artist or artisan working in their native cultural language; the visionary artist drawing on other artists’ riches, sometimes transforming and sometimes appropriating them; the creative industry stakeholders turning content into profit and communities into global audiences; the protesters resisting cultural gentrification and socio-cultural exploitation; and the scholars, ethicists, number crunchers, and others trying to contextualize and make sense of cultural currents.

    Instructors Bhamati Viswanathan
  • BC450 Senior Residency I

    4 Credits

    As the capstone of the BCE program, the Senior Residency is designed to reconnect the entirety of skills students have refined, accumulated, and workshopped since entering the program. Collaboration, aesthetic sensibility, organizational structure, and finance are combined with lessons learned from students’ various electives and put to work in this class. The class contains elements of both a traditional capstone as well as internship but with more academic rigor and analysis as well as collaboration with fellow students, professors, advisors, as well as clients.

    Instructors Robert Lyons, Sanjay Pothen, Wesley Jackson
  • BC451 Senior Residency II

    4 Credits

    The continuation of the Senior Residence I capstone experience. Students will work in groups and spend the majority of course time gaining hands on experience working with Residency Partners observing and shadowing leaders across the Creative Industries.

    Instructors Robert Lyons, Sanjay Pothen, Stanley Onuoha, Wesley Jackson
  • CA100 Why Did the Chicken? Fundamentals in Comedic Storytelling

    4 Credits

    Analyzes the subjective nature of comedy. What makes something funny? Why do some people laugh when others don’t? How does American comedy differ from comedy from other countries? Through a series of lectures, readings, screenings, and discussions, students boil down the common denominators of universal comedy. They utilize this newfound knowledge to explore and discover their own unique comedic voices through improvisation and sketch writing.

    Instructors Michael Bent
  • CA102 Evolution of Comedy I

    4 Credits

    Tracks the history of comedy, beginning in Greece and Rome, through the Italian renaissance (Commedia erudite and Commedia dell’arte), Elizabethan England, 17th-century France, the English Restoration, to Hollywood comedy of the 1930s and 1940s. Chief topics include the growth of the comic theatrical tradition and conventions; techniques and themes of comic plots (trickster, parody, farce, caricature); and the role of comedy in society: is it disruptive or unifying? Insightful or malicious? When is censorship necessary?

    Instructors Matthew McMahan
  • CA103 Evolution of Comedy II

    4 Credits

    Provides a broad survey of comedy in film, television, and audio recording to explore the evolution of forms, styles, and meanings. The course also examines the creative agency and individuality (authorship) of particular comedy directors, television creator-producers, performers, and collaborative teams in the broader context of comedy forms and styles. Alongside exploring the poetics of mass culture comedy, the course investigates mass culture comedy’s social and political significance as a regulator of the status quo as well as a force of satire, protest, and even rebellion. In that regard, issues of social identity and diversity, as well as questions of exclusion and inclusion, permeate students’ investigations into comedy. Simply put, the course repeatedly asks: who is laughing at whom, and why? What are the social and political stakes of mass culture comedy? How are the poetics of mass culture comedy related to the social and cultural significance (and signification) of comedy?

    Instructors Maria Corrigan
  • CA300 Theories of Humor and Laughter

    4 Credits

    Investigates theories of comedy, including theories of humor and laughter. Drawing on philosophy, ethics, cognitive science, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, and social sciences, students learn the social, economic, and political theories of comedy, and how they relate to the physiological and psychological condition for humor and laughter. Students write a research paper on the topic of their choice and conduct observatory and experiential research.

    Instructors Sarah Corrigan, Tyler Theus
  • CA320 Topics in Comedy: ComEx! 2022: Comedic Arts Showcase: Write, Perform, Produce

    4 Credits

    The students will be tasked with creating a comedic arts showcase from the ground up, including writing, performing, and directing a revue of sketches, improvisation, musical numbers, etc. based on the students’ talents and interests. In addition, the class will serve as a producing team for this year’s comedy festival (ComEx!) held at the end of the semester. You will work closely with a faculty advisor, who will mentor you as you manage all aspects of producing a festival, including scheduling, marketing, space management, programming, casting, event planning, rehearsals, hosting VIPs, and crafting the audience experience. To apply to be in the course, students must send a cover letter to Erin_Schwall@emerson.edu by October 29th explaining why they are interested in the course, what they hope to get out of the course, and any previous experience that would make them a good fit for the class.

    Instructors Erin Schwall
  • CA420 Topic in Comedy: The Art of the Pitch: Developing and Selling an Original Comedy Series

    4 Credits

    Students will engage in the process of developing and pitching an originalcomedy series. Students will work from the seed of an idea to develop atreatment, series bible, ten sample episodes, character storylines, andmultiple season arcs. Students will practice engaging with managers,agents, producers and network executives. The course will likewiseconsider the particulars of developing a pitch for various platforms(network, cable, streaming, and the web), as well as creating an effectivepitch deck and a full, verbal network pitch. Throughout the semester,students will have the opportunity to meet and learn from industry professionals.

    Instructors Andrew Miara
  • CA420 Topics in Comedy: Advanced Sketch Comedy Writing

    4 Credits

    The aim of this workshop course is to write, rewrite, and polish a packet of single-camera and multi-camera comedy sketches. The final project will be a sketch packet that writers can use in their writing portfolios.

    Instructors Edward Lee