Featured Course: Coen Brothers: Genre & Irony

Coen Brothers: Genre & Irony


“That rug really tied the room together.”
– Jeffrey Lebowski aka “The Dude”

If you don’t get that reference, it may be a sign that you should take JDST 390 – Topics in Judaic Studies: Coen Brothers: Genre & Irony.

For more than thirty years, Joel and Ethan Coen have crafted provocative and humorous films that take on the complicated and serious themes of postmodernism (and post-postmodernism). While the Brothers are not religious, many of the brothers’ stories and their characters are shaped by the Coen Brothers’ Jewish heritage, so it’s not surprising that elements of Jewish literature and Yiddish humor are sprinkled throughout their films. JDST 390 pays particular attention to the Coen Brothers’ use of genre, specifically: film noir, screwball comedy, and westerns.

The Coen Brothers’ strategy will be examined through screenings of their films in the context of their genres, and ideas of irony and post-ironic culture. Blood Simple, Fargo, Burn After Reading, and of course The Big Lebowski, are just a few of the films students study.

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