Welcome 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, I invite scholars across the humanities to submit their best work on topics in American humor and join us in advancing knowledge in the field.
***Upcoming Special Issue: Black Comedy Matters***
The American Humor Studies Association has expressed its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and Studies in American Humor manifests that commitment with a special issue that focuses on African American humor and the challenges of humor in the face of systemic injustice.
The term “black comedy” first became current as a translation of André Breton’s 1940 Anthologie de l’Humour Noir to characterize the philosophy and practice of humor that explores risqué subjects with a tone of dark irony. Subsequently, the category has at times created some confusion with the humor of African American culture. Although Breton and later critics have associated “black comedy” with avant-garde modernist aesthetics, the editorial team of Studies in American Humor along with guest co-editor Darryl Dickson-Carr contend that, in our current era, the adjective “black” applies alternatively to a wide range of comic traditions and practices of African American culture. The reclaiming of the adjective “black” as a cultural sign by African American theorists problematizes the broader application of the term in modernist aesthetics, for which a number of other adjectives—dark humor, gallows humor, and sick humor—have functioned equally well. So in this spirit, we seek to redefine the phrase black comedy to align with the reclaiming of blackness as a vigorous, affirmative move.
We are now accepting essays that focus on African American humor and its explorations of the experience of race in the United States, emphasizing the ways in which Black comedy matters. While we encourage critical investigations from any period and in a wide range of forms from literary and popular culture–in print, performance, cinema, or new media–we are particularly interested in humor that connects to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The final deadline for submission is October 1, 2021, and the scheduled release date of the issue is October 2022. Please submit manuscripts in the range of 5000 to 8000 words through 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 further questions can be forwarded to the editorial team at StudiesinAmericanHumor@roosevelt.edu.
From “Nervous Laughter: American Humor Studies in Dispiriting Times” by Editor Lawrence Howe.
Previous Editor Statement: Judith Yaross Lee, Enter Laughing.
See the Table of Contents for all issues here.