The Age of Irony

Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Evening and Weekend
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 50
8 Credits per quarter
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“Irony describes the emotion, whatever it is, occasioned by perceiving some great gulf, half-comic, half tragic, between what one expects and what one finds.” — Paul Fussell, My War: How I Got Irony in the Infantry

We will frame this study of 20th Century American history and literature as a collective research project—exploring the deep divisions among Americans about wars, social policy, and culture in several distinct eras. We will consider how these divisions can inform our understanding of the current historical moment. We will explore how the history of Washington State has influenced present day politics and public policy. We will think historically about a variety of topics and learn to do history by practicing historical research, analysis, and interpretation, culminating in students' own projects. We will learn to recognize how an ironic stance became the most compelling cultural response to these contested values and actions.  One of our virtual field trips will be devoted to learning how to use the Washington State Digital Archives. Students will engage in individual research projects, beginning in the winter with an annotated bibliography and culminating in an historical article published in the program web-zine.

This is an all-level program, ideal for returning and transfer students, especially those pursuing the Upside-Down degree program. It is a broad liberal arts program designed for students who want to improve their historical knowledge, research skills, and (multi)cultural literacy.

To successfully participate in this program, students will need a quiet, personal workspace, and a computer with internet access and audio/video capability. Students can expect our remote synchronous virtual classroom teaching to be around 6.5 hours per week, split between Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, using a combination of applications available via Zoom and our class Canvas site.

Our learning emphasizes participation in synchronous (live) sessions. Students with potential obstacles to full attendance should contact faculty in advance to discuss alternatives. 

Anticipated credit equivalencies include American history, Washington State history, American literature, and cultural studies.


Winter 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (8): 20097
Spring 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (8): 30091

Academic details

Preparatory For

History, cultural studies, American literature, education

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


In Person or Remote
Remote (W)
Remote (S)
Time Offered
Evening and Weekend
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting