Category Archives: ASA

Editor’s Chair: The State of the Union

Tracy Wuster, EditorState of the Union Obama

We here at “Humor in America” have seen some big changes to the state of the web page.  A number of our editors–Sharon McCoy, ABE, Matt Daube, and Phil Scepanski–have left or taken a hiatus.  To fill those giant shoes, former contributing editors Bonnie Applebeet and Steve Brykman have returned, and they will be joined by Jan McIntire-Strasburg, the executive director of the American Humor Studies Association, Robert Tally, of Texas State University, and Tara Friedman, of Widener University.  Welcome, and welcome back.

More humor studies news:

* Judith Yaross Lee, the editor of Studies in American Humor, has posted her editorial statement for the journal at the StAH homepage.  Check out:

Enter Laughing:

American Humor Studies in the Spirit of Our Times

* The essay is part of the most recent issue of the journal.  See the Table of Contents.  This is the first issue of which I am the Book Review Editor.  You can get the journal by joining the AHSA here.

*And see the call for a special issue of the journal: American Humor in the 1920s and 1930s: Cross-Media Perspectives

Studies in American Humor, the journal of the American Humor Studies Association, invites submission of scholarly papers on humor across media in the 1920s and 1930s for a special issue of the journal appearing in the fall of 2015, coedited by Rob King (Columbia University) and Judith Yaross Lee (Ohio University).  Specifically, we are interested in papers that explore the circulation of humor within and across media industries during this formative period in the consolidation of American mass culture.

More here.

*The AHSA has a good number of upcoming conferences.  We will have three panels at ALA. We are looking for papers for our MLA and SAMLA panels, as well as for the upcoming Quadrennial Conference in New Orleans (with the Mark Twain Circle).  See the AHSA announcements page.

* The New Orleans conference will be an amazing conference.  Be sure to be there.

American Humor Studies Association

Mark Twain Circle of America

Quadrennial Conference 2014

December 4-7, 2014

Four Points Sheraton French Quarter 

The American Humor Studies Association, in conjunction with the Mark Twain Circle of America, sends out this general call for papers on American humor and Mark Twain.  The topics below are suggestions for topics that we think will be of interest; other topics are welcome, and we welcome especially submissions of sessions of three papers or roundtables.  The topics are broad in the hope that scholars will be able to find one that fits their current research.  Submissions should be sent to Jan McIntire-Strasburg via email (mcintire@slu.edu).  Please send your submissions by May 15, 2014.

Those sending in submissions for the Mark Twain Circle of America can email their proposals to Ann Ryan at ryanam@lemoyne.edu.

* You might also be interested in the 27th Annual AATH Humor Conference in Vincennes, Indiana… April 3-6, 2014… at the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy located on the campus of Vincennes University.

*Or you might be interested in the International Society for Humor Studies Conference.  The 2014 ISHS Conference will be held from July 7 to July 11, 2014 on the campus of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Editor’s Chair: Let’s Destroy the Sun

Tracy Wuster

A friend of mine–and one of my favorite pessimists–has said that she cures writer’s block by placing one simple sentence at the top of her page and going from there.  So here goes:

Since the dawn of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun.

There.  Maybe that will help…

Mr. Montgomery Burns destroys blocks the sun

Mr. Burns destroys the sun…

Nope.  I just don’t have anything intelligent to say about humor right now, nothing like Jeffrey Melton’s sharp piece on pedagogy of humor, or Matt Powell’s excellent work on Andy Kaufman’s music,  Matthew Duabe’s insightful piece on performance and Princess Ivona, Sharon McCoy’s truly funny meditation on germs in public places, Caroline Zarlengo Sposto’s birthday wishes to that great American poet Muhammed Ali, Phil Scepanski’s insightful discussion of sick humor, or ABE’s solid writing on Marc Maron’s podcast.  See, I have resorted to a clip show, the final resort of the lazy sitcom writer (although those are all excellent pieces worth reading, for sure).

But I have nothing.  I wish I could turn my external circumstances–which are not really conducive to writing about humor–into humorous insight, as Sharon McCoy has so wonderfully done on our pages.  But I can’t.  I apologize.

Instead, I will point to the work I have been doing with the AHSA and Humor Studies Caucus of the ASA to plan panels for upcoming conferences in Boston (ALA) and D.C. (ASA).  Also, check out the announcements page above or on the AHSA website for new CFPs for the AHSA at MLA 2014, humor studies and Mark Twain at the RMLA, and humor studies at SAMLA.

Also, I blame my book, the manuscript of which is due to the University of Missouri Press at the end of the month.  Here is a brief sample, touching on Twain and humor:

In 1874, as Twain was writing the series “Old Times on the Mississippi” for the Atlantic, Howells attempted to ease Twain’s fears about the audience he was writing for, stating in a letter “Don’t write at any supposed Atlantic audience, but yarn it off as into my sympathetic ear.”  Twain responded with a line that reflects a sense of relief at this new professional opportunity: “It isn’t the Atlantic audience that distresses me; for it is the only audience that I sit down before in perfect serenity (for the simple reason that it don’t require a ‘humorist’ to paint himself stripèd & stand on his head every fifteen minutes.)”[1] The possibility of earning a living, or at least a reputation, as a new type of humorist—one who didn’t have to curry public favor with constant buffoonery—seems to have appealed to Twain.

My pessimist friend loves when I have footnotes on a blog post.  And if you are one of my editor’s, I wrote this while also eating pizza and preparing for class.  No writing time or thought was spared for non-book work.  And if you are one of the contributor’s to this site, thank you for your excellent posts and sorry for not living up to your standard.
Now, on to destroy the sun…
statler and waldorf destroy the sun


[1] William D. Howells to SLC, 3 December 1874, (UCLC 32073).http://www.marktwainproject.org/x tf/view?docId=letters/UCLC32073.xml;styl e=letter;brand=mtp and SLC to William Dean Howells, 8 Dec 1874, Hartford, Conn. (UCCL 05257). <http://www.marktwainproject.org/xtf/view?docId=letters/UCCL05257.xml;style=letter;brand=mtp>

Editor’s Chair: Busy month for humor studies

Tracy Wuster

Hello dear readers.  We at “Humor in America” hope you had jolly holidays and festive new year’s and such.  Last year, we said goodbye to a great group of editors–Bonnie Applebeet, Joe Faina, Beza Merid, and David Olsen.  We also added Jeffrey Melton, Matt Powell, ABEMatthew Daube, Phil Scepanski, and saw the return of Sharon McCoy and Steve Brykman.  And don’t forget the wonderful contributions of Caroline Sposto.  A big thank you to all the editors and contributors from the past year.  If you would like to contribute a post, please let me know.

The month of January brings a whole slew of humor studies opportunities to think about.

**American Humor Studies Association at ALA:

American Humor Studies AssociationAbstracts due January 15.  Conference is May 23-6 in Boston.

1. “Humor in Periodicals: From Punch to Mad”—Abstracts (300 words max.) are encouraged on the role of humorous literature in American periodicals from the early national period to the present.  Subject adaptable to both humorous periodicals and humor in serious periodicals across a wide time range; thus, title will change to reflect composition of panel.

2. “Reading Humorous Texts”–Abstracts (300 words max.) are encouraged on the interpretation, recovery, or pedagogy of humorous texts from novels and poems to plays and stand-up.  Some focus on the act of interpretation of humor in its historical, performative, formal, or other cultural context is encouraged.

Please e-mail abstracts no later than January 15, 2013 to Tracy Wuster (wustert@gmail.com) with the subject line: “AHSA session, 2013 ALA.” Notifications will go out no later than January 20, 2013.

**Humor Studies Caucus at the American Studies Association.

louis ckStephen-ColbertMargaret Cho comedyMarx Brothers (A Day at the Races)_01

Abstracts due January 15

Deadline extended!.

American Studies Association Annual Meeting: 

“Beyond the Logic of Debt, Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent,” 

November 21-24, 2013: Hilton Washington, DC

http://www.theasa.net/annual_meeting/page/submit_a_proposal/

Proposals on any aspect of American Humor will be welcome.  Panels will be assembled for submission by the January 26 deadline.

Proposals should be no more than 500 words and should include a brief CV (1 page).  Please include current ASA membership status.

Proposals (and questions) should be sent to Tracy Wuster and Jennifer Hughes: wustert@gmail.com & jahughes@yhc.edu

**Looking for book reviewers for Studies in American Humor.

We have a number of books for which we need reviewers for our Fall 2013 issue.

redcoverNEW

Here are the books looking for reviewers:

1. Avashi, Bernard. Promiscuous: “Portnoy’s Complaint” and Our Doomed Pursuit of Happiness New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.

2. Ferrari, Chiara Francesca. Since When is Fran Drescher Jewish?: Dubbing Stereotypes in The Nanny, The Simpsons, and The Sopranos. Foreword by Joseph Straubhaar. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.

3. Holtz, Allan. American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2012.

4. Kohen, Yael. We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2012

5. Nel, Phil, Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s LiteratureUniversity Press of Mississippi, 2012. 368 pages, 88 illustrations.

6. Morris, Roy Jr. Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013.

We especially encourage graduate students and junior scholars to review books.  If you are interested in reviewing one of the above books, please contact Tracy Wuster (wustert@gmail.com) with the information below, as well as the specific book you are interested in reviewing:

Name:
Email:
Mailing Address:
Institution:
Level (grad, independent, asst/assoc/full professor):
Main areas of research/areas you are interested in reviewing:
Current member of AHSA (y/n):
***‎”Rise early. It is the early bird that catches the worm. Don’t be fooled by this absurd saw; I once knew a man who tried it. He got up at sunrise and a horse bit him.” – Mark Twain’s Notebook

Editor’s Chair: Humor Studies News

Tracy Wuster

 

More recently:

Editor’s Chair: Busy month for humor studies

Hello readers.  Two calls for papers out now for Humor Studies–one from the AHSA and one from the Humor Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association.  See the Announcements page for a few more CFPs, as well. Please remember to send me any announcements, CFPs, etc. to post here and on the AHSA site.

****

Calvin and Hobbes, academia, writing

The Humor Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association is seeking papers for the 2012 ASA Conference:

American Studies Association Annual Meeting: 

“Beyond the Logic of Debt, Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent,” 

November 21-24, 2013: Hilton Washington, DC

http://www.theasa.net/annual_meeting/page/submit_a_proposal/

Proposals on any aspect of American Humor will be welcome, including, but not limited to:

Stand-Up Comedy      Jokes     Wit           Merriment

Literary Humor  (both high- and low-brow)       Richard Pryor

Film     Satire     Will Rogers

Comedy Jokes     Risibility     Sitcoms

Laughter

Mark Twain     Dirty Jokes    Lenny Bruce

Ventriloquism     the Circus     Marietta Holley

subtle humor     broad humor

Margaret Cho     regional humor

transnational humor     ethnic humor

and even puns…

Proposals due by: January 11th

Panels will be assembled for submission by the January 26 deadline.

Proposals should be no more than 500 words and should include a brief CV (1 page).  Please include current ASA membership status.

Proposals (and questions) should be sent to Tracy Wuster and Jennifer Hughes: wustert@gmail.com & jahughes@yhc.edu

****

American Humor Studies Association

American Literature Association

2013 National Convention

Boston,  Westin Copley Hotel, May 26-29.

The AHSA plans to sponsor two sessions at the 2013 national meeting. We seek cogent, provocative, well-researched papers on the following subjects:

1. “Humor in Periodicals: From Punch to Mad”—Abstracts (300 words max.) are encouraged on the role of humorous literature in American periodicals from the early national period to the present.  Subject adaptable to both humorous periodicals and humor in serious periodicals across a wide time range; thus, title will change to reflect composition of panel.

2. “Reading Humorous Texts”–Abstracts (300 words max.) are encouraged on the interpretation, recovery, or pedagogy of humorous texts from novels and poems to plays and stand-up.  Some focus on the act of interpretation of humor in its historical, performative, formal, or other cultural context is encouraged.

Please e-mail abstracts no later than January 15, 2013 to Tracy Wuster (wustert@gmail.com) with the subject line: “AHSA session, 2013 ALA.” Notifications will go out no later than January 20, 2013.

***

clown mime humor sense of humor cartoon academia

***

Our friend and contributor sent along this announcement:

Persons interested in American humor may have a free and uncopyrighted copy of Scalawag, my biography of John N. Reynolds in Microsoft Word, e-mailed to them as an attachment by sending a request to samsackett1928@gmail.com.  It is not totally funny, but there are several chuckles here and there, and one or two outright laughs.  Included are an amusing folk limerick and two examples of the prose of Walt Mason, one of the great but forgotten American humorists.
I ran across Reynolds while working on my book on E.W. Howe.  After completing the Howe book, I gathered as much material as possible and wrote an account of his life, making it both as factual and as entertaining as I could.  Reynolds has no real importance, but I thought the general public would enjoy reading about him.  I tried to get book publishers to agree with me, but without success.  And I really didn’t have enough for a book anyway (76 pages).  So I am giving it away.
Who was John N. Reynolds?  He was a hard-working college student, a self-ordained minister, a pioneer schoolmaster of brilliant success, a Sunday school superintendent, a newspaper editor, a music storekeeper, a sewing machine agent, a baker, a rogue, an inventor, a penitentiary inmate, a public speaker, a land salesman, a farmer, a candidate for public office, a banker, an itinerant evangelist, an insurance executive, a student of shorthand, an author, a book salesman, and a maniac — in approximately that order, but some of them more than once and some of them simultaneously.  He was also — and in this he was quintessentially human — an enigma.
You can read Scalawag on your computer or print it out.  It’s free.  And if you don’t like it, I’ll gladly refund every penny you paid for it.
Sam Sackett

Humor Studies at the American Studies Association Conference 2012

Tracy Wuster

 

The Humor Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association organizes a number of panels each year for the annual American Studies Conference.  This year, we sponsored two panels and a business meeting.  The conference takes place this week in San Juan Puerto Rico, and the humor caucus panels are scheduled for Thursday.  In addition, other great humor based panels are scheduled for Friday and Sunday.  Please check them out if you are at ASA.

ASA 2012

Here are the details:

Thursday

12:00 PM – 1:45 PM
042. Caucus: Humor Studies:

Race, Resistance, and the Imperial U.S.: Nineteenth-Century Humor in the Classroom (A Roundtable)
Puerto Rico Convention Center 208B

CHAIR:
Jennifer Hughes, Young Harris College (GA)

PANELISTS:
John Lowe, University of Georgia (GA)

Judith Yaross Lee, Ohio University (OH)

Gillian Johns, Oberlin College (OH)

Jennifer Hughes, Young Harris College (GA)

 

2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
064. Caucus: Humor Studies:

The “Post-Racial” Panopticon? Reflexivity, Race, and Resistance in Comedy
Puerto Rico Convention Center 208B

CHAIR:
Lanita Jacobs, University of Southern California (CA)

PAPERS:
Mary Beltrán, University of Texas, Austin (TX)
Blacking Up for Laughs: Televisual Blackface and “Post-Racial” Cultural Memory

Kimberly Springer, Ohio State University, Columbus (OH)
“Be Your Own Hater”: Katt Williams, Neoliberal Politics, and Black Comedy

COMMENT:
Lanita Jacobs, University of Southern California (CA)

4:00 PM – 5:45 PM
087. Business Meeting of the Humor Studies Caucus

Puerto Rico Convention Center 208B

Friday:

2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
185. Awkward Black Comedy 2.0: A Roundtable Discussion

Puerto Rico Convention Center 204

CHAIR:
Danielle Heard, University of California, Davis (CA)

Awkward Black Comedy 2.0 brings together Issa Rae, Elon James White, and Baratunde Thurston, three popular web-based comedians who explore issues of black identity in a distinctly twenty-first-century landscape, into a roundtable discussion with Bambi Haggins, Danielle Heard, and Ralina Joseph, three scholars whose recent scholarship theorizes current modes of African American humor and examines questions of representation, “post” identities, and resistance.

Sunday

12:00 PM – 1:45 PM
397. Comic Reversals: Tripping on the Domestic Rug and Bringing Down the Imperial House

Puerto Rico Convention Center 102B

CHAIR:
Alison Suen, Vanderbilt University (TN)

PAPERS:
Julie Willett, Texas Tech University (TX)
Fathering an Ironic Mix: Imperial Spit and the Decline of Neoliberal Testosterone

Cynthia Willett, Emory University (GA)
Occupy Anarchy: Comic Animals, Playful Reversals, and the End of Empire as We Know It?

Kelly Oliver, Vanderbilt University (TN)
From Rosemary’s Baby to Twilight: There is Something Funny about Pregnant Horror

COMMENT:
Alison Suen, Vanderbilt University (TN)

Humor Studies Caucus of the ASA: Call for Papers

DEADLINE: January 13

The Humor Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association is seeking papers for the 2012 ASA Conference:

“Dimensions of Empire and Resistance:

Past, Present, and Future”

November 15-18, 2012: Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico

http://www.theasa.net/annual_meeting/page/submitting_a_proposal/

Proposals on any aspect of American Humor will be welcome, including, but not limited to:

 Stand-Up Comedy      Jokes    Wit   Merriment

Literary Humor (both high- and low-brow)

Richard Pryor    Film    Satire    Will Rogers

Comedy Jokes    Risibility     Sitcoms

Laughter    Mark Twain      Dirty Jokes

Lenny Bruce     Ventriloquism     the Circus

Marietta Holley      Margaret Cho

subtle humor     broad humor

regional humor     transnational humor     ethnic humor

and even puns…

Proposals due by: January 13th

Panels will be assembled for submission by the January 26 deadline.

Proposals should be no more than 500 words and should include a brief CV.  Please include current ASA membership status.

Proposals should be sent to Tracy Wuster: wustert@gmail.com

For more CFP and other news, see the announcements section.