Recordings of New Book Conversations

For those of you who are interested, we are providing the recordings of the New Book Conversations from this past Spring here:


Sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association

Hosted by: Tracy Wuster, Executive Director of AHSaFriday March 12th at 3pm Central Time

Tragedy Plus Time National Trauma and Television Comedy (link)

By Phil Scepanski

“As the saying goes, “Comedy equals tragedy plus time,” but in the face of tragedies on a national scale, comedy becomes the medium through which audiences untangle accepted understandings of what it means to be American.”

The Joke Is on Us: Political Comedy in (Late) Neoliberal Times (link)

Edited by Julie A. Webber 

“This edited volume brings together scholars of comedy to assess how political comedy encounters neoliberal themes in contemporary media. Central to this task is the notion of genre; under neoliberal conditions …genre becomes “mixed.” Once stable, discreet categories such as comedy, horror, drama and news and entertainment have become blurred so as to be indistinguishable. The classic modern paradigm of comedy/tragedy no longer holds, if it ever did.”

Ethics in Comedy: Essays on Crossing the Line (link)

Edited by Stephen Benko

“All humans laugh. However, there is little agreement about what is appropriate to laugh at. While laughter can unite people by showing how they share values and perspectives, it also has the power to separate and divide. Humor that “crosses the line” can make people feel excluded and humiliated. This collection of new essays addresses possible ways that moral and ethical lines can be drawn around humor and laughter.


Sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association

Hosted by: Beck Krefting, AHSA Vice President

Crazy Funny 

Popular Black Satire and the Method of Madness

Lisa A. Guerrero (link)

“This book examines the ways in which contemporary works of black satire make black racial madness legible in ways that allow us to see the connections between suffering from racism and suffering from mental illness.” 


Cover for Morgan: Laughing to Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century. Click for larger imageLaughing to Keep from Dying

African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century

Danielle Fuentes Morgan (link)

By subverting comedy’s rules and expectations, African American satire promotes social justice by connecting laughter with ethical beliefs in a revolutionary way. Danielle Fuentes Morgan ventures from Suzan-Lori Parks to Leslie Jones and Dave Chappelle to Get Out and Atlanta to examine the satirical treatment of race and racialization across today’s African American culture.”


Cover image for Satire as the Comic Public Sphere: Postmodern “Truthiness” and Civic Engagement By James E. CaronSatire as the Comic Public Sphere

Postmodern “Truthiness” and Civic Engagement

James E. Caron (Link)

“Tracing the history of modern satire from its roots in the Enlightenment values of rational debate, evidence, facts, accountability, and transparency, Caron identifies a new genre: ‘truthiness satire.’”


Sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association

Hosted by: Teresa Prados-Torreira, President of the AHSA

The Content of Our CaricatureThe Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging (link)

By Rebecca Wanzo

Revealing the long aesthetic tradition of African American cartoonists who have made use of racist caricature as a black diasporic art practice, Rebecca Wanzo demonstrates how these artists have resisted histories of visual imperialism and their legacies. Moving beyond binaries of positive and negative representation, many black cartoonists have used caricatures to criticize constructions of ideal citizenship in the United States, as well as the alienation of African Americans from such imaginaries. The Content of Our Caricature urges readers to recognize how the wide circulation of comic and cartoon art contributes to a common language of both national belonging and exclusion in the United States.

Cover image for Caricature and National Character: The United States at War By Christopher J. Gilbert

Caricature and National Character: The United States at War

By Christopher J. Gilbert (link)

According to the popular maxim, a nation at war reveals its true character. In this incisive work, Chris Gilbert examines the long history of US war politics through the lens of political cartoons to provide new, unique insights into American cultural identity. Tracing the comic representation of American values from the First World War to the War on Terror, Gilbert explores the power of humor in caricature to expose both the folly in jingoistic virtues and the sometimes-strange fortune in nationalistic vices.

Seeing MADSeeing MAD: Essays on MAD Magazine’s Humor and Legacy (link)

Edited by Judith Yaross Lee & John Bird

“Seeing Mad” is an illustrated volume of scholarly essays about the popular and influential humor magazine Mad, with topics ranging across its 65-year history… Mad magazine stands near the heart of post-WWII American humor, but at the periphery in scholarly recognition from American cultural historians, including humor specialists. This book fills that gap, with perceptive, informed, engaging, but also funny essays by a variety of scholars. 

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