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Open Class: Ethnic Jokes and National Humor Cultures

Shaw Open Class
Tuesday, November 21, 2023, 10:50 am – 12:30 pm

Course Title: States of Laughter: A History of Humor and Politics

Session Title: Ethnic Jokes and National Humor Cultures

What makes something funny? Is laughter political? Why do states care about how their citizens laugh? And how do they try to shape this laughter? How are national humor cultures created? How do they change? These are some of the questions asked in this course, which is an exploratory inquiry into how modern states and their citizens encounter each other in laughter (examples may include the United States, Great Britain, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, socialist Eastern Europe, and Communist China).

The new Department of Historical Studies invites prospective students to join one (or more - see the full list here) class to see what studying at CEU is like!

Join this session to explore how are ethnic humor cultures created and maintained. How do they evolve? How much is structural and how much is cultural? In the case of Jews, how did humor assist and also challenge their assimilation into the Soviet Union and the United States? When does ethnic humor as identity-formation transform into hatred? When (if at all) is it a problem to laugh at ethnic jokes? Just how powerful is joking?

Sign up here, and the reading and zoom link will be emailed to you a week before the class!