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Jewish Studies Program

Presenters' & Contributors' Bios



Christian Anderson

Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policies, University of South Carolina

Christian K. Anderson is associate professor of higher education at the University of South Carolina. He teaches and does research on the history of higher education, comparative higher education, and higher education in popular culture. His most recent chapter on the latter topic (with Katherine Chaddock), is “Humor in Academic Fiction:  From Subtle Satire to LMAO” in Anti-Intellectual Representations of American Colleges and Universities: Fictional Higher Education (Tobolowsky and Reynolds, 2017). He teaches a course, “Higher Education in Popular Culture” at USC and has published and presented widely on the topic. Some of this work intersects with his historical scholarship such as his article (with Daniel Clark), “Imagining Harvard: Changing Visions of Harvard in Fiction, 1890-1940.” His historical work focuses on issues of faculty governance in American colleges and universities and on the role of students in the governance of Latin American universities. Dr. Anderson earned BA and master’s degrees at the University of Utah and his Ph.D. at Penn State University.

anderson book

Future of the American Public Research University (Global Perspectives on Higher Education) Paperback (2007)

Edited by Roger L. Geiger,‎ Carol Colbeck,‎ Roger L. Williams,‎ Christian K. Anderson 

Public research universities are an integral part of American society. They play the leading role in educating future leaders in agriculture, engineering, the arts and sciences, humanities, business, education, and other professions. Public research universities generate the new products, processes, inventions, discoveries, insights, and interpretations that advance the human condition. The dominant centers of higher education in many states, public research universities are increasingly looked upon as major engines of economic development. And, through outreach, they harness their human and intellectual capital to serve their sponsoring societies. Yet state investment in public higher education is faltering and the role of public higher education is an area of ongoing debate. This flagging support, along with the growing perception that higher education is a private benefit rather than a public good, has put public research universities at a crossroads. With chapters by leading scholars, this book tackles these challenging issues-on learning resources; on competition; on the public and private benefits of public research universities; and on how best to create an environment for engaged learning. It brings into one collection informed arguments on the key issues facing the American public research university and serves as a valuable resource to students, scholars, and policy makers who are concerned about the future of these national assets. 

  • Publisher: Sense Publishers (March 12, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 9087900473
  • ISBN-13: 978-9087900472


Regina Barreca

Professor of English, University of Connecticut
Founding Editor and Co-Editor of LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory (Routledge).

Dr. Gina Barreca has appeared on 20/20The Today ShowCNN, BBCNPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. Her earlier books include the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of HumorIt’s Not That I’m Bitter, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World, and Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League. Of the other six books she’s written or co-written, several have been translated into to other languages–including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and German.  Called “smart and funny” by People magazine and “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry, Gina was deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine. Novelist Wally Lamb said “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane.” Gina’s weekly columns from The Hartford Courant are now distributed internationally by the Tribune Co. and her work has appeared in most major publications, including The New York TimesThe Independent of LondonThe Chronicle of Higher EducationCosmopolitan, and The Harvard Business Review. She’s Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut and winner of UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching. Gina has delivered, often as a repeat guest, keynotes at events organized by The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, the National Writers Workshop, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale and the National Association of Independent Schools, The Chicago Humanities Festival, Women In Federal Law Enforcement, Chautauqua and The Smithsonian–to name a few. Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar, her M.A. is from Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold’s Fellow, and her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York. 

Barreca book

"If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?": Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times (2016)

by Gina Barreca

Gina Barreca is fed up with women who lean in, but don't open their mouths. In her latest collection of essays, she turns her attention to subjects like bondage which she notes now seems to come in fifty shades of grey and has been renamed Spanx. She muses on those lessons learned in Kindergarten that every woman must unlearn like not having to hold the hand of the person you're waking next to (especially if he's a bad boyfriend) or needing to have milk, cookies and a nap every day at 3:00 PM (which tends to sap one's energy not to mention what it does to one's waistline). She sounds off about all those things a woman hates to hear from a man like "Calm down" or "Next time, try buying shoes that fit". "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" is about getting loud, getting love, getting ahead and getting the first draw (or the last shot). Here are tips, lessons and bold confessions about bad boyfriends at any age, about friends we love and ones we can't stand anymore, about waist size and wasted time, about panic, placebos, placentas and certain kinds of not-so adorable paternalism attached to certain kinds of politicians. The world is kept lively by loud women talking and "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" cheers and challenges those voices to come together and speak up. You think she's kidding? Oh, boy, do you have another thing coming.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN-10: 1250060745
ISBN-13: 978-1250060747

BoskinJoseph Boskin

Professor Emeritus of History, Boston University

Joseph Boskin is an emeritus professor of American Social & Ethnic History at Boston University.  He is the author of numerous articles, encyclopedia entries, reviews essays and books, including Seasons of Rebellion: Protest & Radicalism in Recent America (Co-author & Editor, 1972), Urban Racialism in the Twentieth Century (Author & Editor, 1969, 1976), Into Slavery:  Racial Decisions in the Virginia Colony (1977), Sambo:  The Rise & Demise of an American Jester (1986), Rebellious Laughter: People’s Humor in American Culture (1997), and The Humor Prism in Twentieth Century America (Author & Editor, 1997).  His most recent work is Corporal Boskin’s Cold Cold War: A Comical Journey (2011), a memoir of his U.S. Army role as the historian of a top secret, scientific outfit posted in northern Greenland during the Korean War.  He has just completed a seriocomic novel, A Comic Outing, and is seeking a generous publisher.

Boskin book

Rebellious Laughter: People's Humor in American Culture (1997)  by Joseph Boskin 

Bringing together everyday language, social interaction and cultural warfare, this work forms a social history of humour in American culture. It argues that jokes provide a cultural barometer of concerns and anxieties, and that laughter is transformative.

Publisher: Syracuse University Press (1795)
ASIN: B01K3O0Y30

 Clementi Federica K. Clementi

Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies, University of South Carolina

F. K. Clementi is an Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies at the University of South Carolina, and has been appointed a Peter and Bonnie McCausland Fellow of English Language and Literature. She is the author of Holocaust Mothers and Daughters: Family, History and Trauma; and is currently working on an ecofeminist study of twentieth-century Jewish culture. Clementi has written about Jewish women’s humor in post-war American culture (“The JAP, the Yenta, and the Mame in Aline Kominsky Crumb’s Graphic Imagination.”), and about humor as a means of psychic and cultural resistance during WWII (“‘I Will Save Myself with a Joke’: Anne Frank and the Survival of Humor”). Jewish humor and humor theory are central components of all her courses about modern Jewish literature and thought. 


Clementi Book

Holocaust Mothers and Daughters: Family, History, and Trauma (2013)

by Federica K. Clementi 

In this brave and original work, Federica Clementi focuses on the mother-daughter bond as depicted in six works by women who experienced the Holocaust, sometimes with their mothers, sometimes not. The daughters’ memoirs, which record the “all-too-human” qualities of those who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, show that the Holocaust cannot be used to neatly segregate lives into the categories of before and after. Clementi’s discussions of differences in social status, along with the persistence of antisemitism and patriarchal structures, support this point strongly, demonstrating the tenacity of trauma—individual, familial, and collective—among Jews in twentieth-century Europe. 

Publisher: Brandeis (December 3, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1611684765
ISBN-13: 978-1611684766 


 Joseph Dorinson

Professor of History, Long Island University

Joseph Dorinson is a Professor in the History Department at Long Island University, where he has taught since 1966. His book, Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture was published by McFarland in October 2015. He has also co-edited the book, Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports and the American Dream (1999), and has written numerous articles on a variety of subjects spanning his beloved borough of Brooklyn, black heroes, sports, politics, humor, and ethnicity, including: "Ethnic Humor: Subversion and Survival", "The Educational Alliance: An Institutional Study in Americanization and Acculturation", and "Racial and Ethnic Humor". He has organized conferences at LIU on Jackie Robinson (1997), Brooklyn (1998) and Paul Robeson (1998). During baseball's first "Subway Series" since 1956, Dorinson appeared on television (CNN, Fox News, New York One); was heard on the radio (NPR, WOR); and was profiled in the New York Times discoursing on blacks, "reds," baseball, and the American experience.

Dorinson Book

Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture (2015)

by Joseph Dorinson

Jewish humor, with its rational skepticism and cutting social criticism, permeates American popular culture. Scholars of humor—from Sigmund Freud to Woody Allen—have studied the essence of the Jewish joke, at once a defense mechanism against a hostile world and a means of cultural affirmation.

Where did this wit originate? Why do Jewish humorists work at the margins of so many diverse cultures? What accounts for the longevity of the Jewish joke? Do oppressed people, as African American author Ralph Ellison suggested, slip their yoke when they change the joke? Citing examples from prominent humorists and stand-up comics, this book examines the phenomenon of Jewish humor from its biblical origins to its prevalence in the modern diaspora, revealing a mother lode of wit in language, literature, folklore, music and history.

Publisher: McFarland (October 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0786494824
ISBN-13: 978-0786494828


Stanley Dubinsky

Professor of Linguistics and Jewish Studies, University of South Carolina

Stanley Dubinsky is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of South Carolina in the Department of English Language and Literature. He has served as director of the Linguistics Program in the College of Arts & Sciences, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and founding director of the Jewish Studies Program. His primary area of research is syntactic theory, and the syntax-semantics interface. He has produced three books, four edited volumes, and fifty-five articles and book chapters on a variety of topics – largely on the syntax and semantics of various languages, including English, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, and two Bantu languages (Chichewa and Lingala). His 2004 Blackwell book, co-authored with William D. Davies, is titled The Grammar of Raising and Control: A Course in Syntactic Argumentation, and was followed in 2007 by an edited collection with Springer, New Horizons in the Analysis of Control and Raising. His two most recent co-authored books are Understanding Language through Humor (2011, Cambridge University Press), and Language Conflict and Language Rights (To appear 2018, Cambridge University Press). 

Dubinsky Book

Understanding Language through Humor (2011)

by Stanley Dubinsky and Chris Holcomb 

Students often struggle to understand linguistic concepts through examples of language data provided in class or in texts. Presented with ambiguous information, students frequently respond that they don't 'get it'. The solution is to find an example of humour that relies on the targeted ambiguity. Once they laugh at the joke, they have tacitly understood the concept, and then it is only a matter of explaining why they found it funny. Utilizing cartoons and jokes illustrating linguistic concepts, this book makes it easy to understand these concepts, while keeping the reader's attention and interest. Organized like a course textbook in linguistics, it covers all the major topics in a typical linguistics survey course, including communication systems, phonetics and phonology, morphemes, words, phrases, sentences, language use, discourses, child language acquisition and language variation, while avoiding technical terminology. 

Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 31, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0521713889
ISBN-13: 978-0521713887 


Lanita Jacobs

Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Studies, University of Southern California

Lanita Jacobs, a linguistic anthropologist, appreciates language as a mediator of African American culture and identity, and ethnography as a dynamic way of seeing and being in the world. She has pursued these mutual interests by conducting multi-sited ethnographies of African American women’s hair care, African American children coping with Acquired or Traumatic Brain Injury (ABI/TBI), and African American standup comedy. Her fieldwork across sites of hair care, hospitals, and humor has focused on the complex ways in which speakers socialize and construct identity, expertise, and other stances that are essential to their everyday lives. Her first book, From the Kitchen to the Parlor:  Language and Becoming in African American Women’s Hair Care (Oxford UP), offers a multi-sited glimpse of the ways black women (and others) use language to make sense of their hair and identity. Her forthcoming book, To Be Real:  African American Standup Comedy, from 9/11 to Obama (Oxford UP), examines notions of truth and racial authenticity in black standup comedy across key historical moments. 

 Jacobs Book

From the Kitchen to the Parlor: Language and Becoming in African American Women's Hair Care (2006) 

by Lanita Jacobs-Huey 

When is hair "just hair" and when is it not "just hair"? Documenting the politics of African American women's hair, this multi-sited linguistic ethnography explores everyday interaction in beauty parlors, Internet discussions, comedy clubs, and other contexts to illuminate how and why hair matters in African American women's day-to-day experiences.

Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 20, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0195304160
ISBN-13: 978-0195304169 

Not mentioning

Russell Kaschula

NRF SARChI Chair: African Language Studies, School of Languages, Rhodes University

Russell H. Kaschula holds the Chair in the “Intellectualisation of African Languages, Multilingualism and Education” which is housed in the African Language Studies Section, School of Languages & Literatures, Faculty of Humanities. Professor Russell Kaschula's expertise are not limited to the field of African languages and linguistics, as he is also a registered Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. He has an extensive list of degrees including a BA degree, LLB, HDE, BA(Hons) (Cum Laude) and a PhD from Rhodes University. After pursuing a career in African languages, Prof Kaschula began his teaching career at tertiary level in 1988 as a junior lecturer. Prof Kaschula has had an illustrious teaching career which has extended to five South African Universities and one American institution, before settling at Rhodes University. Prof Kaschula has lectured students from undergraduate level through to postgraduate level. He currently lectures honours students, in the course elective of 'African Sociolinguistics, Globalisation and language planning'. Furthermore, Prof Kaschula is a supervisor to students at Honours, Masters, PhD and Postdoctrol levels. Prof Kaschula supervised the first postdoctrol student in the African Language Studies Section (under the auspices of the Chair).  


Not Specify Book

Displaced (2013)

by Russell H Kaschula

Russell Kaschula's delightful and provocative stories explore the complexities of living in the intercultural spaces of Southern Africa - reflections born out of his own history and experiences. Depicting a truly South African identity, these stories are told without bigotry, condescension, or political correctness. They embrace the theme of a common historical uncertainty and displacement over a period stretching back to the 1850s. Bringing together pre- and post-apartheid threads, Kaschula weaves together sometimes painful, sometimes humorous incidents of change, sorrow, fun, violence, forgiveness, innocence, identity, belonging, new directions, and interlinked destinies. *** "A collection of extraordinarily well crafted stories, 'Displaced' is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections." - The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch, Reviewer's Choice, April 2014

Publisher: Unisa Press (July 3, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1868887332
ISBN-13: 978-1868887330  


Catherine Keyser

Associate Professor of English, University of South Carolina

Catherine Keyser is an Associate Professor and Peter and Bonnie McCausland fellow in the English Department at the University of South Carolina. Her current research project, titled Artificial Color: Modern Food and Racial Fictions, is a study of U.S. literature and its imaginative engagement with modern food. In her 2010 Rutgers University Press book, Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture, Keyser argues that humorists of the 1920s and 1930s--such as Anita Loos, Dorothy Parker, and Mary McCarthy--used their sophisticated personae to reflect on media culture and gender stereotypes. Keyser has published essays on modern magazine humor in A New Literary History of America (Harvard UP 2009), edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors; the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies; and Modernist Cultures. 


Keyser Book

Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture (2011)

by Catherine Keyser  

Smart women, sophisticated ladies, savvy writers . . . Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, Anita Loos, Lois Long, Jessie Fauset, Dawn Powell, Mary McCarthy, and others imagined New York as a place where they could claim professional status, define urban independence, and shrug off confining feminine roles. It might be said that during the 1920s and 1930s these literary artists painted the town red on the pages of magazines like Vanity Fair and the New YorkerPlaying Smart, Catherine Keyser's homage to their literary genius, is a captivating celebration of their causes and careers.

Through humor writing, this "smart set" expressed both sides of the story-promoting their urbanity and wit while using irony and caricature to challenge feminine stereotypes. Their fiction raised questions about what it meant to be a woman in the public eye, how gender roles would change because men and women were working together, and how the growth of the magazine industry would affect women's relationships to their bodies and minds. Keyser provides a refreshing and informative chronicle, saluting the value of being "smart" as incisive and innovative humor showed off the wit and talent of women writers and satirized the fantasy world created by magazines.

Publisher: Rutgers University Press; First Paperback Edition edition (September 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0813551781
ISBN-13: 978-0813551784 


Rebecca Krefting

Associate Professor of American Studies, Skidmore College

Rebecca Krefting is an Associate Professor in the American Studies Department and affiliate faculty for Gender Studies and Media and Film Studies at Skidmore College. Her research specializations are studies in humor and performance; identity and difference; media representations; visual and popular culture; and American subcultures. Her book, All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents (Johns Hopkins UP)—charts the history and economy of “charged humor” or stand-up comedy aimed at social justice—and she is a contributing author to many edited collections, most recently: Hysterical!: Women in American Comedy (University of Texas Press, 2017), Transgressive Humor of American Women Writers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Taking a Stand: American Stand-up Comedians as Public Intellectuals (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), and Political Comedy: Critical Encounters (Lexington Books, 2018). She is a member of the editorial board for Studies in American Humor and has been invited to speak about her research domestically and internationally. Current research includes: analyzing feminist comedy studies, the impact of new media on the business of stand-up comedy, and prepper/survivalist subcultures. 

 Krefting Book

All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents (2014)

by Rebecca Krefting

In this examination of stand-up comedy, Rebecca Krefting establishes a new genre of comedic production, "charged humor," and charts its pathways from production to consumption. Some jokes are tears in the fabric of our beliefs―they challenge myths about how fair and democratic our society is and the behaviors and practices we enact to maintain those fictions. Jokes loaded with vitriol and delivered with verve, charged humor compels audiences to action, artfully summoning political critique.

Since the institutionalization of stand-up comedy as a distinct cultural form, stand-up comics have leveraged charged humor to reveal social, political, and economic stratifications. All Joking Aside offers a history of charged comedy from the mid-twentieth century to the early aughts, highlighting dozens of talented comics from Dick Gregory and Robin Tyler to Micia Mosely and Hari Kondabolu.

The popularity of charged humor has waxed and waned over the past sixty years. Indeed, the history of charged humor is a tale of intrigue and subversion featuring dive bars, public remonstrations, fickle audiences, movie stars turned politicians, commercial airlines, emergent technologies, neoliberal mind-sets, and a cavalcade of comic misfits with an ax to grind. Along the way, Krefting explores the fault lines in the modern economy of humor, why men are perceived to be funnier than women, the perplexing popularity of modern-day minstrelsy, and the way identities are packaged and sold in the marketplace.

Appealing to anyone interested in the politics of humor and generating implications for the study of any form of popular entertainment, this history reflects on why we make the choices we do and the collective power of our consumptive practices. Readers will be delighted by the broad array of comic talent spotlighted in this book, and for those interested in comedy with substance, it will offer an alternative punchline.

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (June 20, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1421414309
ISBN-13: 978-1421414300 


Paul Malovrh

Associate Professor of Spanish, University of South Carolina

Paul Malovrh specializes in SLA, applied Hispanic linguistics, and foreign language pedagogy.  Working within a cognitive framework, he investigates interlanguage development and the underlying psycholinguistic strategies constraining it.  Most recently, he has turned his attention to advanced-level acquisition, specifically, and its relationship with curricular design and contemporary professional expectations. He is under contract with Cambridge University Press to write the monograph, Globalization and Advanced Language Use:  The Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Pedagogy of Spanish, and is also co-editor of, The Handbook of Advanced Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition, for Wiley-Blackwell’s handbook series.   His most recent research involves online measures of language processing according to different instructional contexts.  He also investigates second-language learners’ perception of humor and irony at advanced levels of proficiency.  He has lived and worked in Chile, the United Kingdom, and throughout Asia, and he directed USC’s study abroad program in Costa Rica in 2011.


The Developmental Dimension in Instructed Second Language Learning (2013) 

By Paul Malovrh and James F. Lee

This work identifies developmental stages in the acquisition of object pronouns by instructed second language learners of Spanish.It examines learners ranging from beginner to advanced, where the most advanced are themselves teachers of Spanish language courses.Study abroad experience is also a variable in the data.

The book explores language production from a functionalist perspective, examining form-to-function and function-to-form mappings. It provides insights into related developments
in production, placement and processing of object pronouns. Detailed analysis reveals that the most
powerful predictor of performance across levels and within levels for each of
these is the level of the learner.Formal instruction and the study abroad
experience is examined, both the specific instruction on object pronouns and
overall exposure to instruction.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (May 9, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1441146296
ISBN-13: 978-1441146298


Bob Mankoff

Cartoon Editor Emeritus, The New Yorker; Humor and Cartoon Editor, Esquire magazine

Robert "Bob" Mankoff is an American cartoonist, editor, and author. He is the current cartoon editor for The New Yorker magazine. Before he succeeded Lee Lorenz as cartoon editor, Mankoff was a cartoonist for The New Yorker for twenty years. In 1992, Mankoff founded the online Cartoon Bank, a licensing platform for New Yorker cartoons and art, with more than 85,000 cartoons available for sale. Mankoff was hired as New Yorker cartoon editor in 1997; he credits his administration of the Cartoon Bank as being an important reason for why he was chosen to replace Lorenz. Tina Brown, The New Yorker's editor at the time, said of Mankoff, "Bob is not only a brilliant cartoonist himself, he's also an impassioned promoter, defender and curator of the art of cartooning. … He's put himself out to nurture cartoonists." Mankoff has stated that his all-time favorite New Yorker cartoonist is Jack Ziegler. He has also cited Shel Silverstein as an artist he would have liked as a contributing cartoonist. Under Mankoff, the magazine has brought in a new generation of cartoonists (including a number of female contributors); notable names include Pat Byrnes, J. C. Duffy, P. C. Vey, Farley Katz, Emily Flake, and Julia Suits. Mankoff usually contributes a short article to each issue of The New Yorker, describing some aspect of the cartooning process or the methods used to select cartoons for the magazine. 

 Mankoff Book

How About Never--Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons (2014)

by Bob Mankoff

People tell Bob Mankoff that as the cartoon editor of The New Yorker he has the best job in the world. Never one to beat around the bush, he explains to us, in the opening of this singular, delightfully eccentric book, that because he is also a cartoonist at the magazine he actually has two of the best jobs in the world. With the help of myriad images and his funniest, most beloved cartoons, he traces his love of the craft all the way back to his childhood, when he started doing funny drawings at the age of eight. After meeting his mother, we follow his unlikely stints as a high-school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student. Though Mankoff abandoned the study of psychology in the seventies to become a cartoonist, he recently realized that the field he abandoned could help him better understand the field he was in, and here he takes up the psychology of cartooning, analyzing why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't. He allows us into the hallowed halls of The New Yorker to show us the soup-to-nuts process of cartoon creation, giving us a detailed look not only at his own work, but that of the other talented cartoonists who keep us laughing week after week. For desert, he reveals the secrets to winning the magazine's caption contest. Throughout How About Never--Is Never Good for You?, we see his commitment to the motto "Anything worth saying is worth saying funny."

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (March 25, 2014)
ISBN-10: 080509590X
ISBN-13: 978-0805095906  


Lawrence Mintz

Professor (Emeritus) of American Studies, University of Maryland

Lawrence Mintz is Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland (American Studies). He was a founding member of the Popular Culture Association, the International Society for Humor Studies, and the American Humor Studies Association. He has organized conferences on humor in 1979 and 2001, and served a stint as the editor of the International  Journal of Humor Studies. Professor Mintz also directed The Art Gliner Center for Humor Studies. He is the author of many articles, reviews and book chapters on humor from 1968 to the present. 


Mintz Book

Humor in America: A Research Guide to Genres and Topics (1988)

Ed. by Lawrence E. Mintz

This comprehensive survey of sources and scholarship should prove invaluable to anyone organizing a course in American humor, and to graduate students or advanced undergraduates as well. There are excellent summaries of respected histories of the field and such serious, well-planned chapters as `The Comics,' `Humor in Periodicals,' `Standup Comedy,' `Women's Humor,' `Racial and Ethnic Humor,' and `Political Humor.' . . . Well-written and clearly presented, this volume will greatly assist those making their way in this fascinating interdisciplinary area. Choice

Focusing on a multitude of genres, this unusual collection stresses the overall importance of humor as an index to popular thought. Primarily descriptive rather than theoretical, each chapter is organized to provide an overview of a specific genre of expression or a significant topic in modern humor. Subjects range from literature, the comic strip, film, broadcast humor, the magazine, and standup comedy, to racial and ethnic humor, women's humor, and political humor. Each genre or topic is traced historically and analyzed with respect to those characteristics that make it unique. A bibliographical essay and checklist is provided for each chapter to facilitate further study.

Publisher: Greenwood (March 30, 1988)
ISBN-10: 0313245517
ISBN-13: 978-0313245510


Ferne Pearlstein

Independent filmmaker

Ferne Pearlstein, a graduate of Stanford University’s Master’s Program in Documentary Film, is a prize-winning cinematographer, feature film editor and writer/director whose work has won numerous awards and been screened and broadcast around the world. Pearlstein’s recent feature documentary THE LAST LAUGH, which she produced, directed, photographed and edited, is about taboos in comedy seen through the lens of the Holocaust. Featuring Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Carl Reiner, Harry Shearer, Gilbert Gottfried, Alan Zweibel, 93-year-old Holocaust survivor Renee Firestone and many others, the film premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to screen at close to 100 festivals around the world including HotDocs (Toronto), Munich, Jerusalem London, Rome, and IDFA (Amsterdam). In April 2017, THE LAST LAUGH was shown nationwide on PBS’s Independent Lens series where it was runner-up for the online Audience Award. Her previous feature documentary, “Sumo East and West,” about Westerners in Sumo, also premiered at Tribeca and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens. In 2004 Pearlstein won the Sundance Cinematography Prize for her work on "Imelda," a feature documentary about the former first lady, Imelda Marcos. She is one of only a handful of female cinematographers featured in Kodak's long-running “On Film” ad campaign in the pages of American Cinematographer magazine.  

 Pearlstein Book

The Last Laugh (2016)

Directed by Ferne Pearlstein

Are we allowed to make jokes about the Holocaust? In this outrageously funny and thought-provoking film, filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein puts the question about comedy's ultimate taboo to legends including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, Harry Shearer, Jeffrey Ross, Judy Gold, Susie Essman, Larry Charles, and many other critical thinkers, as well as Holocaust survivors themselves.

Through these interviews and clips from our favorite standup comedy, TV shows, and movies, The Last Laugh offers fresh insights into the Holocaust, our own psyches, and what else—9/11, AIDS, racism— is or isn’t off-limits in a society that prizes freedom of speech. In the process, The Last Laugh also disproves the idea that there is nothing left to say about the Holocaust, and opens a fresh avenue for approaching this epochal tragedy. Star-studded, provocative and thoroughly entertaining, The Last Laugh dares to ask uncomfortable questions about just how free speech can really be, with unexpected and hilarious results that will leave you both laughing and appreciating the importance of humor even in the face of events that make you want to cry.

THE LAST LAUGH had its World Premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and its International Premiere at HotDocs 2016 and has gone on to play at over 50 film festivals worldwide including Tribeca Film Festival, HotDocs, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, IDFA, BFI London Film Festival, Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, Aspen FilmFest and Chicago International Film Festival. 

CREATED BY the award-winning team of Ferne Pearlstein (“Sumo East and West” and "Imelda"), Amy Hobby (Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee for "What Happened, Miss Simone?"), Anne Hubbell ("Gayby"), Robert Edwards ("One More Time"), and Jan Warner (“Poetry of Resilience”).
“I am...privy to many of the films that are released on a yearly basis about the Holocaust. I cannot think of one project that has taken the approach of THE LAST LAUGH. THE LAST LAUGH dispels the notion that there is nothing new to say or to reveal on the subject because this aspect of survival is one that very few have explored in print and no one that I know of has examined in a feature documentary." -Richard Trank (Executive Director at the Simon Wiesenthal Center)


  SimmonsKimberly Simmons

Associate Professor of Anthropology and African-American Studies , University of South Carolina

Kimberly Eison Simmons is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina, and was previously Associate Dean in the South Carolina Honors College. She received her B.A. in Spanish from Grinnell College and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University where she was also a Researcher-in-Residence with the African Diaspora Research Program. Much of her research focuses on women’s organizations, Afro-Dominicanness, African American culture and experience, and the cultural construction of identity in the African Diaspora focusing on African Americans and Afro-Latinos/as. She is the author of Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2009) and co-editor of Afrodescendants, Identity, and the Struggle for Development in the Americas (Michigan State University Press, 2012). She is currently working on two book projects (an edited volume on African American culture and a single authored book on Afro- Dominicanness, identity, and the politics of natural hair). She is also past President of the Association of Black Anthropologists.


Simmons Book

Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic (2011)

by Kimberly Simmons 

"Documents a seismic shift in Dominican identity over the last two decades which the author argues is the result of contact with the U.S.; that Dominicans have moved away from seeing themselves as indio and increasingly self-identify as Black."--Robin Derby, University of California, Los Angeles. 
In Latin America and the Caribbean, racial issues are extremely complex and fluid, particularly the nature of "blackness." What it means to be called "black" is still very different for an African American living in the United States than it is for an individual in the Dominican Republic with an African ancestry. Racial categories were far from concrete as the Dominican populace grew, altered, and solidified around the present notions of identity. Kimberly Simmons explores the fascinating socio-cultural shifts in Dominicans' racial categories, concluding that Dominicans are slowly embracing blackness and ideas of African ancestry. Simmons also examines the movement of individuals between the Dominican Republic and the United States, where traditional notions of indio are challenged, debated, and called into question.  How and why Dominicans define their racial identities reveal shifting coalitions between Caribbean peoples and African-Americans, and proves intrinsic to understanding identities in the African diaspora.

Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1 edition (January 10, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0813036755
ISBN-13: 978-0813036755


Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff

Associate Professor of History, University of South Carolina

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff is an Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. A leading scholar of American Cultural History, she published her first book, Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era in 2009, and has published articles on race relations and popular culture in American Quarterly, Journal of American History, and Cultural History. She has also completed the first comprehensive biography of performer Sophie Tucker, Red Hot Mama: The Life of Sophie Tucker, to be published with the University of Texas Press in 2018. Sklaroff's work on Tucker is supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars Fellowship. At USC she teaches courses on American popular culture, and race and ethnicity.

 Sklaroff Book

Red Hot Mama: The Life of Sophie Tucker (2018)

by Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff 

The “First Lady of Show Business” and the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” Sophie Tucker was a star in vaudeville, radio, film, and television. A gutsy, song-belting stage performer, she entertained audiences for sixty years and inspired a host of younger women, including Judy Garland, Carol Channing, and Bette Midler. Tucker was a woman who defied traditional expectations and achieved success on her own terms, becoming the first female president of the American Federation of Actors and winning many other honors usually bestowed on men. Dedicated to social justice, she advocated for African Americans in the entertainment industry and cultivated friendships with leading black activists and performers. Tucker was also one of the most generous philanthropists in show business, raising over four million dollars for the religious and racial causes she held dear.

Drawing from the hundreds of scrapbooks Tucker compiled, Red Hot Mama presents a compelling biography of this larger-than-life performer. Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff tells an engrossing story of how a daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants set her sights on becoming one of the most formidable women in show business and achieved her version of the American dream. More than most of her contemporaries, Tucker understood how to keep her act fresh, to change branding when audiences grew tired and, most importantly, how to connect with her fans, the press, and entertainment moguls. Both deservedly famous and unjustly forgotten today, Tucker stands out as an exemplar of the immigrant experience and a trailblazer for women in the entertainment industry.

Publisher: University of Texas Press (April 2, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1477312366
ISBN-13: 978-1477312360  

 SluckDavid Slucki

Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies, College of Charleston

David Slucki is currently an Assistant Professor in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston. Previously, he was an Early Career Development Fellow in 2011-2013 at Monash University in Melbourne, Austrarlia, where he received his PhD in 2010. His book, The International Jewish Labor Bund after 1945: toward a global history, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2012, and looks at the attempts of Bundists to adapt their shattered movement in the wake of the Holocaust. His current research focuses on Holocaust survivors in the postwar United States; humor and Holocaust representation; and generational memories of the Holocaust.  

 Sluck Book

The International Jewish Labor Bund after 1945: Toward a Global History (2011)

by  David Slucki

The Jewish Labor Bund was one of the major political forces in early twentieth-century Eastern Europe. But the decades after the Second World War were years of enormous difficulty for Bundists. Like millions of other European Jews, they faced the challenge of resurrecting their lives, so gravely disrupted by the Holocaust. Not only had the organization lost many members, but its adherents were also scattered across many continents. In this book, David Slucki charts the efforts of the surviving remnants of the movement to salvage something from the wreckage.

Covering both the Bundists who remained in communist Eastern Europe and those who emigrated to the United States, France, Australia, and Israel, the book explores the common challenges they faced—building transnational networks of friends, family, and fellow Holocaust survivors, while rebuilding a once-local movement under a global umbrella. This is a story of resilience and passion—passion for an idea that only barely survived Auschwitz.

Publisher: Rutgers University Press; 1st Ed. edition (January 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0813551684
ISBN-13: 978-0813551685 


Harvey Starr

Dag Hammarskjold Professor (Emeritus) in International Affairs and Jewish Studies, University of South Carolina

Harvey Starr's research and teaching interests include theories and methods in the study of international relations, war and international conflict, geopolitics and diffusion analyses, and domestic influences on foreign policy (revolution; democracy), with current research interests in the causes and consequences of failed states and the theory and methods of necessary conditions. He joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 1989 after 17 years at Indiana University, and has served as chair of the Political Science Department at both institutions. He is author or co-author of 18 books and monographs, and over one hundred journal articles and book chapters. His most recent books include The Israeli Conflict System: Analytic Approaches (co-edited 2016, Routledge), and State Failure in the Modern World (co-authored 2016, Stanford University Press). He has served as President of the International Studies Association (2013-14), and President of the Peace Science Society (2000-01). In 2015 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association, “in recognition of scholarly contributions that have fundamentally improved the study of conflict processes.”    

 Starr Book

The Israeli Conflict System: Analytic Approaches (2015)

Ed. by Harvey Starr and‎ Stanley Dubinsky 

The Middle East conflict system is perhaps the world’s most important and intractable problem area, whose developments carry global consequences. An effective investigation of the context and change in the region calls for a melding of academic approaches, methods and findings with policy-oriented needs.

The Israeli Conflict System brings together leading conflict scholars primarily from political science, applying a range of advanced, rigorous analytic and data-gathering techniques to address this single empirical domain―the contemporary Israeli Conflict System. Recognising the causal complexity of this conflict system, the volume’s central theme is that the system’s current conditions are best understood in their broader temporal/historic, cultural/linguistic, and spatial/geographic contexts. Through the lens of economic, geographic, historical, linguistic, and political analyses, and the application of data analysis, experiments, simulations, and models of rational choice, this volume shows how diverse disciplinary perspectives and methodologies can complement each other effectively. In this way, its chapters provide a model for the integration of factors and contexts necessary for understanding contemporary world politics, and a sampling of theories, approaches, and methods that are applicable, useful, or valid under different conditions.

This book offers a cutting-edge resource for scholars and students of Political Science, International Relations, Conflict Studies and Middle East Studies.

Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (August 18, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1138912433
ISBN-13: 978-1138912434


Jarrod Tanny

Associate Professor of History and Charles and Hannah Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History, Universityof North Carolina at Wilmington

Jarrod Tanny is Associate Professor of History and the Charles and Hannah Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Between 2008 and 2010 he was the Schusterman post-Doctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at Ohio University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on Russian and Jewish history. Originally from Montreal, Canada, he completed an M.A. at the University of Toronto and a B.A. at McGill University. His monograph, City of Rogues and Schnorrers (Indiana University Press, 2011), examines how the city of Odessa was mythologized as a Jewish city of sin, celebrated and vilified for its Jewish gangsters, pimps, bawdy musicians, and comedians. He has since published articles on Jewish humor in several journals, including Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, American Jewish History, and Southern Jewish History, as well as a chapter in an edited Oxford University Press volume titled, A Club of Their Own: Jewish Humorists and the Contemporary World. He is currently working on a larger study on Jewish humor in post-World War II America and its place within the larger context of the European Jewish past, titled Laughter through Fears: Jewish Humor and Post-World War II America

 Tanny Book

City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa (2011)

by Jarrod Tanny 

Old Odessa, on the Black Sea, gained notoriety as a legendary city of Jewish gangsters and swindlers, a frontier boomtown mythologized for the adventurers, criminals, and merrymakers who flocked there to seek easy wealth and lead lives of debauchery and excess. Odessa is also famed for the brand of Jewish humor brought there in the 19th century from the shtetls of Eastern Europe and that flourished throughout Soviet times. From a broad historical perspective, Jarrod Tanny examines the hybrid Judeo-Russian culture that emerged in Odessa in the 19th century and persisted through the Soviet era and beyond. The book shows how the art of eminent Soviet-era figures such as Isaac Babel, Il'ia Ilf, Evgenii Petrov, and Leonid Utesov grew out of the Odessa Russian-Jewish culture into which they were born and which shaped their lives. 

Publisher: Indiana University Press (November 14, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0253223288
ISBN-13: 978-0253223289


Stephen Whitfie

Max Richter Professor of American Civilization, Brandeis University

Stephen Whitfield holds the Max Richter Chair in American Studies at Brandeis University, where he has taught since 1972.  His research and teaching have focused on the intersection of politics and ideas in twentieth-century America.  He has authored eight books: Scott Nearing: Apostle of American Radicalism; Into the Dark: Hannah Arendt and Totalitarianism; Voices of Jacob, Hands of Esau: Jews in American Life and Thought; A Critical American: The Politics of Dwight Macdonald; American Space, Jewish Time; A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till; The Culture of the Cold War; and In Search of American Jewish Culture.  He has served as a Fulbright visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and has taught as a visiting professor at the Sorbonne and at the University of Munich.  “Jackie Mason: The Comedian as Ethnographer” appeared in volume 29 of Studies in Contemporary Jewry (2016).  

 Whitfield Book 1

In Search of American Jewish Culture (2001)

by Stephen J. Whitfield

In drama and in musical comedy, in popular song and in symphonic music, in movies and in literature, Jews have contributed to American culture in the 20th century to a degree out of all proportion to their numbers. But does this vast creative output coalesce into something identifiable as an American Jewish culture? Stephen J. Whitfield answers this question with a resounding "yes!"
Whitfield focuses on areas where the specifically Jewish contribution has been little explored. He surveys such fields as popular music, musical theater, and drama, focusing on key figures from Jerome Kern and the Gershwins to Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins; Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland to Irving Berlin and Bob Dylan; Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman to David Mamet and Wendy Wasserstein.
At the same time, Whitfield tackles the complex issue of race and American Jewish culture, tracing the extensive interpenetrations of Jewish and African American music. He also offers a stunning examination of Jewish American representations of the Holocaust, focusing on stage and film adaptations of Anne Frank's Diary and on Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.
In a poignant, final chapter, Whitfield ponders the future of American Jewish culture after a century of assimilationist pressure and mainstream success. The distinctive culture that he has traced through the 20th century, Whitfield concludes, may finally become submerged and lost. Only a renewed emphasis on Judaism itself, he believes, offers the hope for American Jews to maintain the dual cultural identities that they have so long succeeded in nurturing. 

Publisher: Brandeis; 1st edition (October 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1584651717
ISBN-13: 978-1584651710   

 Whitfield Book 2

American Space, Jewish Time (1996)

by Stephen J. Whitfield

"This is a delightful book, a small gem replete with insightful, provocative pieces about both American culture and Jewish life. I think that Stephen Whitfield is one of the most original essayists on these two topics. Few other scholars combine the density of his knowledge with the verve of his prose". -- Hasia R. Diner, New York University 

Publisher: Routledge (July 31, 1996)
ISBN-10: 1563249324
ISBN-13: 978-1563249327 

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