Charles Baudelaire and others have posited that caricature is a constituent element of modernity and of humanity's fallen state. Is it? To judge from recent events, one would think that caricature is the last art form that truly matters, for it is in response to it that people move to real, not merely symbolic, acts of violence. Since the eighteenth century, it has been heralded as an emblem and vector of freedom and democracy, even if it is at times allied with stereotype and prejudice. This seminar invites an exploration of the phenomenon that will necessarily lead us to read on printing and the press; stereotypes, racism, and the supposed visual legibility of character; jokes, humor, and laughter; theories of the comic and the performative; pornography and political dissent; revolution and order. In considering the function of caricature and thinking through traditions of caricature, we will look at, amongst others, Goya, Gillray, Daumier, and Posada; and read Lavater, Baudelaire, Bergson, Freud, Bakhtin, Gombrich and Kris.