No Laughing Matter: Visual Humor in Ideas of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity

No Laughing Matter: Visual Humor in Ideas of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity


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In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, this collection—which gathers scholars in the fields of race, ethnicity, and humor—seems especially urgent. Inspired by Denmark’s Muhammad cartoons controversy, the contributors inquire into the role that racial and ethnic stereotypes play in visual humor and the thin line that separates broad characterization as a source of humor from its power to shock or exploit. The authors investigate the ways in which humor is used to demean or give identity to racial, national, or ethnic groups and explore how humor works differently in different media, such as cartoons, photographs, film, video, television, and physical performance. This is a timely and necessary study that will appeal to scholars across disciplines.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611688214
Publisher: Dartmouth College Press
Publication date: 12/01/2015
Series: Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture Series
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

ANGELA ROSENTHAL was a professor of art history at Dartmouth College. ADRIAN W. B. RANDOLPH is the Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History at Dartmouth. DAVID BINDMAN is emeritus professor of the history of art at University College London.

Table of Contents

Preface—Adrian W. B. Randolph • Introduction. No Laughing Matter: Visual Humor in Practice and Theory—David Bindman • Carnivalesque and Grotesque: What Bakhtin’s Laughter Tells Us about Art and Culture—Kobena Mercer • PART 1. ENCOUNTERING HUMOR: RACIAL, NATIONAL, AND ETHNIC STEREOTYPES • Bartolomeo Passarotti and “Comic” Images of Black Africans in Early Modern Italian Art—Paul H. D. Kaplan • “If You Tickle Us, Do We Not Laugh?”: Stereotypes of Jews in English Graphic Humor of the Georgian Era—Frank Felsenstein • James Gillray, Charles James Fox, and the Abolition of the Slave Trade: Caricature and Displacement in the Debate over Reform—Katherine Hart • The Other Within—Allen Hockley • Material Culture, Slavery, and Governability in Colonial Cuba: The Humorous Lessons of the Cigarette Marquillas—Agnes Lugo-Ortiz • PART 2. RACIAL HUMOR AND THEORIES OF MODERN MEDIA • Fake Nostalgia for the Indian: The Argentinean Fiction of National Identity in the Comics of Patoruzú—Ana Merino • Passing for History: Humor and Early Television Historiography—Mark Williams • Comical Conflations: Racial Identity and the Science of Photography—Tanya Sheehan • PART 3. PERFORMATIVE COMEDY AND RACE • Laughter as Performance: Some Eighteenth-Century Examples—David Bindman • Bittersweet Blackness: Humor and the Assertion of Ethnic Identity in Eleanor Antin’s Eleanora Antinova—Cherise Smith • Traveling Humor Reimagined: The Comedic Unhinging of the Western Gaze in Caribbean Postcards—Sam Vásquez • Springtime for Hitler Every Year: Dani Levy’s Hitler Comedy My Führer (2007)—Veronika Fuechtner • Contributors • Index

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