Explore Your Sense of Humor.

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Quincy Scott Jones,
Adjunct Professor of English

Sue Pierce and I teamed up to teach Humor in Black & White: Multicultural Responses to Social Issues, a University Seminar that explores how artists of various ethnicities use humor to discuss social problems, taboos and complications.

Throughout the semester, we looked at comedy through various genres, including literature, cinema, live stand-up performances, and Web-based media. Students learned that humor has so much to do with context—what is funny depends on who you are, what groups you identify with, the times in which you live, and how much power you have in society.

In class we looked at mainstream humorists from Mark Twain to Richard Pryor, as well as some more obscure artists like the very inventive Fran Ross. We also looked at comedy where comedy was not necessarily known to be: slave humor, humor in 1960s Beat poetry, and in current events.

We offered a wide range of subjects in order to accommodate the diverse nature of a University Seminar. For their essays, students were encouraged to find topics that connected their academic majors with the idea of American humor. We wanted the students to leave the class not only with sharper research and analytical skills, but also with the ability to laugh at themselves.

Read more about Quincy Scott Jones.

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