Cultural Themes in America; African American Humor and Its Social Context

We will examine formal aspects of African American humor as well as the historical, political, and sociocultural contexts surrounding that humor. The course curriculum will include black vernacular practices such as toasting, signifying, and the dozens; the comedic writing of authors and playwrights such as Zora Neale Hurston, George C. Wolfe, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Paul Beatty; and the performances of such comedians as Bert Williams, Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, and Issa Rae. Throughout, we will focus on humor's uses for self-making, community-building, cultural critique, protest, venting, healing, and beyond.

Sister Courses: AMST418A, AMST418B, AMST418D, AMST418E, AMST418G, AMST418K, AMST418L, AMST418M, AMST418N, AMST418R

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