*The Humor Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association (ASA)*
seeks session and paper proposals for the 2010 ASA meeting, held November
18-21 in San Antonio, Texas. Proposals should explore historical,
theoretical, and/or methodological issues in American humor. They should
seek to address the 2010 meeting theme, Crisis, Chains, and Change:
American Studies for the 21st Century
To paraphrase the 2010 call for proposals, the ASA is particularly
interested in projects that engage broadly with the ways ordinary people
create power. In inviting us to consider changes in response to multiple
global crises (war, capital, economies, hunger, climate change), the ASA
encourages us to analyze topics central to American Studies indigeneity,
gender, race, sexuality, laws and status, dispossession, documentation, wage
and custom, boom and bust, primitive accumulation, love for and loathing of
risk, and stretching or shrinking states, glaciers, empires, horizons.
The meeting theme and location present an opportunity to explore
immigration, trans-border activism, and the convergences and divergences of
US and Mexican culture. While proposals may take the traditional form of
scholarly papers, the ASA welcomes the use alternative formats such as
roundtables, workshops, and site visits.
General inquiries and proposals can be sent to the Humor Studies Caucus
email: [log in to unmask] The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2010,
but earlier submissions may be given more consideration.
Additionally, the Humor Studies Caucus is seeking proposals for three
specific panel topics:
*1) **Twentieth-Century Visual Humor***
For this panel on Twentieth-Century Visual Humor, we're looking for paper
proposals addressing any aspect of humor in American or cross-cultural
visual culture, including but not limited to: film, TV, digital media,
painting, photography, children's books, political cartoons, comics,
graphic novels, and caricature.
Please submit session proposals by January 15, 2010 to Philip Nel:
[log in to unmask]> and Juniper Ellis <[log in to unmask]>, of the Humor Studies
*2) **Humor as Critical Pedogogy: Where Activism and Teaching Combine
As higher education becomes increasingly corporatized, with professors being
forced to act as alienated labor and students to act as wary consumers, it
is more and more difficult to connect with the progressive politics many of
us see as the most important aspect of a higher education. This roundtable
will discuss the role of humor as a potentially transformative social force.
Specifically, we will discuss the ways in which using humor in the
classroom, either as a performative activity for professors and students or
as a topic of conversation, can help institute a discussion of emancipatory
politics. As news and entertainment media are controlled heavily by major
media congolomerates, and as clandestine censorship boards like the MPAA and
RIAA retain as much control over the media as government or citizen
institutions, these techniques become even more essential. More importantly,
perhaps, it mirrors trends in entertainment itself, as Peabody Awards for
Excellence in Journalism have been awarded to cultural landmarks like *The
Daily Show* and *South Park* in recent years, documentary filmmakers like
Michael Moore have broken into the mainstream, and performance groups like
The Yes Men have directly intervened in corporate and news discourse.
Through a discussion of classroom techniques and specific media examples
through which humor can be used to obliquely connect students to politics,
this roundtable will attempt to explain how and why humor is such an
important part of the establishment of what Paolo Friere called a "critical
This will be a roundtable with 4-5 speakers each giving a 5-10 minute talk
followed by discussion based on audience participation. Please send a
description of a proposed topic to Ted Gournelos* at *
[log in to unmask]
by January 15, 2010.
*3. Reading Stand-Up Comedy: Methodology and Medium *
This panel will be a roundtable/talk format. Stand-up comedy has been one
of the main venues of cultural expression for at least half a century yet
relatively little scholarly work has been undertaken on stand-up and even
less work has discussed theoretical and methodological challenges in
studying stand-up as a cultural form.
The goal of this panel is to present relatively short (10-12 minute) talks
on a single stand-up performer (or comedy troupe) as a methodological and/or
theoretical exploration of the challenges, approaches, and rewards of
scholarship on stand-up comedy. The goal is to have a range of performers
across time, performance style, medium (live performance, recorded or
written records, film and television, etc.), and disciplinary approach
(ethnography, performance studies, textual analysis, historical analysis,
etc.). Part of the presentation should be a sample of performance as an
illustration of approach.
Proposals are due to Tracy Wuster at: [log in to unmask] by January 15, 2010.
Please contact Tracy with questions or for clarification.