Who's Laughing? The Politics of Humor
Jokes, satire, parody, and comedic performance can be powerful tools for challenging the status quo or for conforming to it. They have the potential to transform discourse, yet it is in these forms that our most troubling and violently disfiguring assumptions about gender, race, class, and sexual orientation can find their longest life. "Humor" can both enable and disable speech; it is available to some and prohibited for others.
How can or do we as scholars, teachers, activists, and persons use humor to create and build awareness? What are the roles of irony, satire, parody, and comedic performance in oppression and resistance to oppression—historically, in the present, and possibly in the future? How does humor work with/against ideas of free expression? Who has the right of free expression and who does not? To what extent does "humor" rely on an us/them mentality and what kinds of social, cultural, and political portraits does it create?