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"It's No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons" icon

It's No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons

This is an interesting learning activity from the Library of Congress on the subject of political cartoons.  This would be appropriate for Social Studies, Humanities, Government , Journalism or History classes.  Student are taught how to analyze and decode cartoons and about persuasive techniques often employed by political cartoonists to promote their individual message such as symbolism, exxageration and analogy.  Students view examples of various political cartoons and then test themselves on which typical cartoonist techniques are depicted in each.  In the "Learn More" section, the same cartoons are shown and there is a brief expert audio analysis of each one.  This section also contains links to biographical sketches for each of the cartoonists.   

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Kimberly Phillips-Hoyle
5 years ago

The explainations about what techniques are used in political cartoons was well written and easy to understand.

However, on the "Test Yourself" section all 4 correct answers were analogy.

Time spent reviewing site: 15 minutes
Drew Walldroff
Drew Walldroff (Student)
5 years ago

Great idea with great material and resources. Enjoyed looking through and it most certainly sparked ideas for the future.

Technical Remarks:

The interactive quiz was a great idea. However I thought it would be a little bit more interactive.

Time spent reviewing site: 15 minutes
Donna Liljegren
Donna Liljegren (Administrator)
5 years ago

This is a great tool for helping students to think critically about the cartoons they are viewing on the editorial pages.  The explanations of the techniques are detailed and help students to understand how the technique is being employed.

Technical Remarks:

The site is not quite as intuitive as it could be.

Time spent reviewing site: 30 minutes
Pamela Gibson
Pamela Gibson (Faculty)
7 years ago

What a wonderful method for demonstrating the depth of political cartoons and providing interactive learning. I've used political cartoons in class before but now have a tool to prove their greater complexity beyond making us smile.

Technical Remarks:

I did have a few 'trial and error' attempts before I understood how the quiz worked, but not enough to discourage or frustrate me.

Time spent reviewing site: 10 minutes
Christina Greening
10 years ago
I like the interactive aspect of this activity. What a great way for students to learn about primary source political cartoons in an active and engaging way. This activity is a great way for students to learn about persuasion and bias depicted in political cartoons. Thank you for sharing!
Used in course? Yes
Virgil Renfroe
Virgil Renfroe (Faculty)
10 years ago
I think this would be very useful for both the Critical Writing course I taught in the past and the Analytical Reasoning course I currently teach. Both courses include sections on visual literacy and this seems perfect in several ways.
John Sutherlin
John Sutherlin (Faculty)
11 years ago
I often use political cartoons in class and this site is essential. Many of the cartoons are simply unavailable in any other format.
Used in course? Yes