coverartWelcome to the home of Studies in American Humor, the journal of the American Humor Studies Association.

Founded by the American Humor Studies Association in 1974 and published continuously since 1982, StAH specializes in humanistic research on humor in America (loosely defined) because the universal human capacity for humor is always expressed within the specific contexts of time, place, and audience that research methods in the humanities strive to address. Such methods now extend well beyond the literary and film analyses that once formed the core of American humor scholarship to a wide range of critical, biographical, historical, theoretical, archival, ethnographic, and digital studies of humor in performance and public life as well as in print and other media. StAH’s expanded editorial board of specialists marks that growth. On behalf of the editorial board, we invite scholars across the humanities to submit their best work on topics in American humor and join us in advancing knowledge in the field. From  “Nervous Laughter: American Humor Studies in Dispiriting Times” by Former Editor Lawrence Howe.

Contact: stah@press.psu.edu

***Upcoming Special Issue:

Call for Papers Studies in American Humor Special Issue:  Feminist Humor and the Future of Fumerism

This special issue on Female/Feminist humor looks at the relationship of humor to feminist thought while interrogating the category of female humor itself.  The “fumerist,” a term dubbed by comedian Kate Clinton to designate the feminist humorist, captures the ambiguity of celebrating female difference while expressing underlying feelings of rage or fuming mad. Seen as too smart, too sassy, too sexy, and too strident, feminist humorists have been viewed with trepidation by predominantly male critics with preconceptions of what is worthy of laughter. Today, they are reclaiming their voices in disrupting social norms by expressing the joy as well as the fury of laughter.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following: the relation of female humor to intersectional analyses of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and ability; feminist theories of the carnivalesque and unruly laughter; Black feminist thought and minoritized humor; LGBTQ+ humor and the gendered and sexual politics of laughter and power; feminist affect theory and the relation of humor to joy/pleasure;  critiques of post-feminism and anti-feminist humor;  Marxist feminist theory and the relation of humor to material culture, political economy, and social and political change; psychoanalytic theory and a critique of Freudian tendentious/sexist jokes; female humor and the poetics of irony, satire, and wit; interdisciplinary approaches to feminist comedy studies in literature, media, film, performance, and popular culture in the United States.

Since the publication of the last Special Issue of Studies in American Humor dedicated to Women’s Humor, No. 24, Special Issue: Funny Girls: Humor and American Women Writers in 2011, much has changed in the cultural landscape in relation to issues of social justice as well as humor studies. With the advent of the #MeToo, #TimesUp, #BlackLivesMatter, and #SayHerName movements as well as the momentum of the Women’s Marches, there is a renewed focus on issues of gender and racial equality. The expansion of new media platforms has further impacted humor studies, resulting in a renaissance of feminist humor and scholarship that has moved beyond the focus of the previous issue on literary humor to encompass a variety of modes from stand-up to satire, sketch comedy, television, film, and digital media.

The final deadline for submission is October 1, 2023, and the scheduled release date of the issue is October 2024. Please submit manuscripts in the range of 5000 to 8000 words to Editorial Manager, our submission portal,  http://www.editorialmanager.com/sah. The portal includes instructions for formatting and submission, and any submission for this issue should be designated as a “special issue essay.” Any questions can be forwarded to the editorial team at stah@press.psu.edu .


Individuals can subscribe to Studies in American Humor by joining the American Humor Studies Association.  Institutions and libraries should subscribe via the Penn State University Press.

Previous Editor Statement:  Judith Yaross Lee, Enter Laughing.

See the Table of Contents for all issues here.