Write for us!

“Humor in America”  is a blog dedicated to the discussion of humor and humor studies in America.   Contributors are welcome to submit on any aspect of American Humor, broadly considered, although submissions are not guaranteed to be published.  If you have questions, write us at: wustert@gmail.com

We are interested in short articles (300-3000 words) focused on (but not limited to) the following areas:

*pedagogy of humor

*theory of humor

*recovery of sources/authors

*genre studies

*interviews with comedians, humor scholars, or other figures

*focused musings, thoughts, or polemics

*humorous writing

*responses to humor in popular culture, academic research, or any other venue that seems fertile

*movies/book reviews

*poetry, novels, tv, art, graffiti, lost cat posters, cats, sketches, tales, memoirs, stand-up, podcasts, satire, etc. etc. etc.

HA! Blog will only publish certain reviews of recent scholarly books, so as to not infringe on the purview of Studies in American Humor.  We will consider reevaluations of older scholarly works.  We also encourage reviews of popular sources (movies, books, comic collections, TV shows, stand-up comedy, etc.).

Review by a contributing editor will vet an article for suitable content for the blog but will not constitute “peer review.”  Authors will be responsible for errors of fact, grammar, or interpretation.  We encourage cross-posting and re-posting from other blogs (with permission) and will link to other blogs upon request, when appropriate.  Authors will retain copyright of their posts.

Comments will be monitored for personal attacks, inappropriate comments, or commercial postings. Users may receive one warning for inappropriate comments, but spam or egregious offenses of good taste will constitute instant banishment.  Please be nice.

Frequently asked questions (responses by Managing Editor):

1. Are you looking for Contributors?  
*Yes!  We are always looking for contributors to submit posts to the site.  We accept both original works and re-posts from your blog.  That being said, we are looking for posts on humor–in America–or humor, generally.  “America” is a big concept, of course, so we would be excited for posts that challenge the ideas of national boundaries or that discuss transnational or multi-national subjects.  We are not looking for posts that don’t directly relate to humor.   If you want to post on a semi-regular basis, we can add you to the site and you can have your own author page (see Jeffrey Melton or Carrie Anderson, as examples).  We are not looking for advertising posts or posts written to drive content to an advertiser.
2. Are you looking for Contributing Editors?  What is the difference?
* Sort of.   I am always willing to consider people who are interested and especially those who cover an area of scholarship that is not currently represented.  For example, we have a number of people who study stand-up comedy and a couple Twain people, so we might not need those areas (but would welcome regular contributions in those areas).  But, if you do early American, or comparative, (if you are a grad student, or if you study some other area (film, TV, drama, etc.), then we might be interested.  The best thing to do is send me an email:  wustert@gmail.com.
The main difference between a contributor and a Contributing Editor is the expected frequency of posting.  Contributors post at leisure.  As Managing Editor, my goal is to have contributing editors contribute on a 4-, 6-, or 8-week schedule.  I am open to almost any sort of recurring series.  We will set a regular set of deadlines for you to aim for.
3. How strict are your deadlines?
I am almost a complete pushover on due dates and postponing posts.  As long as editors are actively engaging and finding the role fun, then pushing back posting due to school, personal, or other reasons is fine as long as you let me know.  I even allow sabbaticals, if you need a longer amount of time off.
4.   What is your vision for the website and for the role of Contributors?
*I have two major goals, which might be in slight conflict.  First, I want the site to provide interesting and thoughtful pieces–hopefully with some distribution of topics across time and content area–that have some insight into humor as from an academic point of view–in the best senses of that word (i.e. smart, engaging, and thoughtful, rather than pedantic or boring).  Second, I want contributors to the site to use their work as a productive part of their academic or professional life.  Since no one gets paid (as of yet), contributions are a matter of convenience, passion, and usefulness to the contributors.  I especially want the site to be useful and supportive of graduate students.
5. What are your more specific aims in terms of word counts, tone, content?  
*In line with these goals, we have no strict guidelines on word counts, tone, content.  We generally have people do some longer posts and some shorter posts.  As we grow, the goal is to add more voices to the conversation and new features.  For instance, one of our contributors is planning a regular series on teaching TV sitcoms.  This series would be open to other scholars to contribute posts.  If you have an idea for a regular contribution or series you would like to see (even if you can’t necessarily contribute), then let us know.  Our goal is to provide our readers with posts on areas of use for them as scholars (or general readers) interested in American humor.
6. Do you pay?  And what is your policy on advertisements?
*As of May 2014, we do not pay contributors for posts.  Contributors retain all rights to their own work, and they are free to pull their work from the website (may take up to 7 days).  Also, as of May 2012, we have added advertisements to the website for Powell’s books–an independent bookstore.  We may also add advertisements to other independent businesses, as well as other advertisements as the editors find prudent.  Currently, the advertisements work on commission.  If a user clicks on an ad, then purchases products from Powell’s, then we receive a 7.5% commission.
Sample ad:
7. What is financial operation of the site?
*As of May 2012, we may now be receiving money via advertisement.  The money will be disbursed as follows:
1. website upkeep: paying for a domain name and possible wordpress upgrades
2. payments to contributors: extra money will be disbursed to Contributors and Editors; an official policy will be announced after it is approved by the editors; we cannot promise that revenues will ever accrue enough to pay contributors
3. scholarship: contributors may donate payments to a scholarship that will be chosen by the editors for the purpose of promoting humor studies in graduate school
The Managing Editor will manage the finances of the website, and editors will be allowed to audit revenues as needed.  A financial statement will be posted when and if we make any money (we have not).
8. What is your policy on the use of George Carlin’s seven words?  
I don’t give a shit.  Actually, when it comes to swear words, potentially offensive content, and satire, my policy is that all these things are okay as long as they are done thoughtfully and with purpose.  When I was 12, my brother and step-brother let me watch Richard Pryor’s “Live on the Sunset Strip,” which taught me some new swear words and that swearing (and offensive material, in general) could be artistic in all the best senses.
9. What if I have other questions?
*Ask me: wustert@gmail.com
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One response

  1. The humor of entering a conversation in 2016 that began in 2012 is self-evident, as if one joins a wedding party after all the guests have left and the bottles are empty. Nevertheless, I am game.
    I am fortunate to be able to teach several courses on humor, from film comedy and situation comedies to animation and a seminar on Theology and Humor. However, certain challenges remain the same, no matter the course designation.
    I find the historical perspective to be most enlightening; if democracy is giving the vote to your sales clerk then tradition is giving a vote to dead poets and comics. It broadens our taste and our understanding of the dynamic nature of what makes us laugh. Teaching enables us to put our students in the cowl of an old friar like Rabelais or in a Cicero’s toga or on a Freudian couch. Jests and comic bits from ancient times and places forces the student to try and figure out why such contributions were considered comic and saved for posterity. Why the heck did Germans laugh at Luther’s outhouse humor or Chaucer’s pilgrims? (Well, they both did have farting in common, and as we have seen, its impact has not waned to this day.)
    But pedagogy of the comic needs a history. It needs the windows of the past to showcase what is peculiar to an era and what is common. (Fortunately, the vulgar, which means what is common, is the most common element). But these same windows, no matter how dusty, provide vistas of satiric and humorous discouse that transcends time and place. Every agnostic or atheist can point back to Voltaire and Ambrose Bierce; every Hebrew can mock with Isaiah (all three of them…) and Amos; every Roman Catholic can share wine with St. Jerome or G. K. Chesterton or Stephen Colbert; every Anglican can pal with C. S. Lewis or Robin Williams; every Presbyterian, well, Calvin just wasn’t funny; he was a lawyer.
    I am grateful to find this site to be able to muse and hope to join the conversation, no matter how many beers this august company has imbibed before I arrived.

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