TAMIU Faculty Member Publishes Book on Political Satire, Trump Presidency
Political satire today often seems relegated to biting social and digital media posts, but a Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) faculty member has taken on the task of writing and publishing an entire book that explores its rich history and evolution.
Dr. Mehnaaz Momen, associate professor of Public Administration, is the author of the new book titled, “Political Satire, Postmodern Reality, and the Trump Presidency: Who Are we Laughing At?” (Lexington Books, 2019).
In the book, Dr. Momen explores why satire fails in the Trump era. She delves into the history of political satire through literature and cartoons and examines how and why it changed with the advent of television.
“Political satire came into the limelight in the 1990’s with media consolidation amidst the structural transition of the industry,” she explained, “I try to capture the underlying rationale of neoliberal policies which manifested in a postmodern and often apolitical sensibility.”
A segment of the book also includes an analysis of the Trump campaign and its techniques as well as strategies that were borrowed from media and applied to politics, Momen said.
“In my book, I argue that the media has encouraged the presentation of politics as entertainment and show with evidence how political coverage has changed in tone and substance,” she said, “It is in this backdrop that we encounter Trump, who very skillfully applied the norms of successful performance from the entertainment world to the political world.”
Momen, who decribes herself as an avid consumer of political satire, said the idea for her new book started to develop when she began questioning her view of satire as an active form of political engagement during the 2016 election.
To further explore and understand satire, she said she wrote a paper titled, “Political Satire: A Reflection of Democratic Values?” and presented it at the Southern Political Science Association in 2017.
“I was editing my book on citizenship at the time,” she said, “An acquisitions editor from Lexington Books approached me and asked if I had any plans to write a book on the topic. I did not have a plan but of course, I said yes and my ideas started taking shape with the proposal that I whipped up very quickly.”
She said the subject of the book is timely, given today’s political climate.
“Given our political reality, I was worried that by the time my book would be published, there would be so many new scandals that the book would be outdated,” she said, “The Trump presidency has gifted satirists with never-ending fodder for jokes and sarcasm, and of course, I could only discuss what was going on before my book went to press.”
Momen said the book focuses on how the meaning of satire has changed because of structural changes in the media, which in turn, have redefined political engagement.
“So, the analytical framework works for future examples just as well as the ones I have spotlighted,” she said, “I want readers to think about the role of satire in our political lives and see the connections between tangible policies and political behavior.”
Momen said she consciously avoided jargon and presented theory in a way that can be understood across disciplines when writing her book.
“Anyone interested in politics and political engagement should get something out of this book because satire plays an important role in our political lives,” she said, “In describing how the mode of satire shapes the message of satire, I connect issues like media deregulation, postmodernism, and participative politics. So, I hope it interests students and scholars in different disciplines.”
Momen, a TAMIU faculty member since 2002, is also the author of the book, titled, “The Paradox of Citizenship in American Politics: Ideals and Reality” (Springer, 2018). She has also authored numerous book reviews, chapters in scholarly books and has published over a dozen academic and professional journal articles. Her research interests are in urban governance, public space, marginality, immigration policy, citizenship and gender politics.
For more information, please contact Momen at 956.326.2631, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices located in the Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, room 313F.
University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
For more of the University’s story, visit tamiu.edu or its social media sites on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.