Schedule for 2014 Joint AHSA/MTC Quadrennial Conference in New Orleans

American Humor Studies Association

Mark Twain Circle of America

 Fifth Quadrennial Conference

December 4 – 7, 2014

 New Orleans, LA

Sheraton Four Points Hotel

Registration Information

Conference Directors

Janice McIntire-Strasburg

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO

Ann M. Ryan

Le Moyne College, New York


Registration Desk

Thursday, 12:00pm-5:00pm

Friday, 8:00am-12:00pm


Thursday, December 4, 2014


1:00-2:15pm               The Coen Brothers: Humoring Form and Adaptation

Session Chair: Ann M. Ryan, Le Moyne College

  • “Romancing the American Dream: The Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona and the Romantic Comedy Formula”

Jeffrey Melton, University of Alabama


  • “Hitting the Road: The Coen Brothers’ Journey through Film Adaptation”

Julie Grossman, Le Moyne College

  • Respondent: Ann M. Ryan, Le Moyne College


2:15-3:30pm               History, The Novel, and Autobiography: Humor By Genre

Session Chair: Janice McIntire-Strasburg, St. Louis University

  • “The Personal is Performative: Race, Satire and the Post-Soul Autobiography”

Danielle Fuentes Morgan, Cornell University

  • “ ‘Alternately a Snarl and Laughter’: Black Humor and the new Southern Gothic in Harry Crews’ A Feast of Snakes

David Buehrer, Valdosta State University

  • “The Regenerative Reconstruction of American History Through African American Humor in the Novels of Ishmael Reed and Percival Everett”

Paul Mahaffey, University of Montevallo


3:45-5:00pm               Telling it like it is(n’t): Mark Twain and the Language of Power

Session Chair: Ben Click, St. Mary’s College, Maryland

  • “Vernacular Humor as Anti-Imperialist Ideology in King Leopold’s Soliloquy”

Judith Yaross Lee, Ohio University, Athens

  • “How the Other Half Lives: Twain goes Slumming”

Ann M. Ryan, Le Moyne College

Respondent: Ben Click, St. Mary’s College, Maryland


Friday, December 5, 2014

Registration: ______________

Breakfast: 8:30 – 9am


9 – 10:15am                           MAD Magazine and its Humor

Session Chair: Ann M. Ryan, Le Moyne College

  • “MAD about Poe,”

Dennis Eddings, Western Oregon University

  • “Wally Wood: Eroticism and Discontent in the Pages of MAD,”

Joseph W. Slade, Ohio University, Athens

Respondent: Ann M. Ryan, Le Moyne College


10:30am – 11:45pm               The Tramp at 100

Session Chair: Julie Grossman, Le Moyne College

  • “Cross-Textual Tramp: How Chaplin’s Screen Persona Surpassed 100 Years,”

Lisa Haven, Ohio University, Zanesville

  • “The Power of Sound in Creating Humor: Chaplin the Pioneer in Audio-Gags,”

Aner Preminger, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem  and Sapir College, Sderot

  • “Without the Coogan Boy It Couldn’t Be Done: How the Kid Revealed New Facets of Chaplin’s Tramp Persona and Set a New Course for American Comedy,”

Carrie Pomeroy, Independent Scholar


11: 45- 1:15: Lunch

1: 15 – 2:30 pm          The Wild Strain’: Twain and His Successors Craft a Humorous Tradition of Nature Writing

Session Chair: James Caron, University of Hawaii, Manna

  • “’A Strain of Wildness’:  Twain’s Presence in late 20th and early 21st Nature Writers”

Ben Click, St. Mary’s College, Maryland

  • “Urbanites Abroad:  Nature in the Humor of The New Yorker”

Brian O’Sullivan, St. Mary’s College, Maryland

  • “When the Sky is Falling, Why Humor?”

Kate Chandler, St. Mary’s College, Maryland


2:45-4:00pm   Persona, the Physical, and the Performative in Gendered Humor

Session Chair: TBA

  • “Persona, Politics and Jeaneane Garafolo’s Right-Wing Media Reception”

Rachel Eliza Blackburn, University of Kansas

  • “Feminine, Funny, and Fat: Restoring Sexuality and Femininity to the Fat Female Body,” Joshua Lopez, Univerity of Texas, El Paso
  • “Laughter and Performative Utopia in Gilda Radner’s Gilda, Live!

Margaret McFadden, Colby College


4:15 – 5: 30pm                       New Media, New Humor: How Do We Do it and Who   is Watching/Listening

Session Chair: David E. Sloane, University of New Haven

  • “A New Economy of Jokes: Hashtag Social Media, Hashtag Comedy”
  • Rebecca Krefting, Skidmore College, Rebecca Baruc, Skidmore College
  • “The End of the Crowd as We Know It: Dissemination, Deracination, and the Cultural Work of American Comic Discourse,” Bruce Michelson, Emeritus, University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana
  •  “The New Confessional Comedy: Intimacy and the Environment of Podcasting” Justin Van Wormer, City University of New York





Saturday, December 6, 2014


Breakfast: 8:30 – 9am



9 – 10:15am: Undergraduate Roundtable: Wine and War Crimes: The Interwar Social Commentary of Joseph Kesserling’s Black Comedy in Arsenic and Old Lace


Session Chair: Jennifer Hughes, Averett University


Opening Remarks: Jennifer Hughes, Averett University


Panelists:    Alexander Argentieri, Ricardo Corrales, Becca Mann, Katelyn Riddle, Averett University



10:30am – 11:45pm   Picturing Twain

 Session Chair: TBA



  • “Taking Mark Twain Lying Down: Those Photos of Sam Clemens in Bed,” James Caron, University of Hawaii, Manoa


  • “Muddling Toward the Modern: How the American Publishing Company and Mark Twain Reimagined Visuals at the Turn of the Century” Debra Cochran, St. Louis University


Respondent: TBA


11:45-1:15: Lunch


1:15 – 2:30pm            Stand Up, Politics, and the Subversive Nature of Humor


Session Chair: TBA


  • “Jackie ‘Moms’ Mabley and Dick Gregory: The Humor of Two African American Comics and their Discourse on Civil Rights Issues of the 60s,”

David E. Hoffman, Averett University


  • “Asleep to Believe It: George Carlin’s American Dream,”

Rob Ribera, Boston University


  • “Knock, Knock/ Who’s There: Social Organization Joke Cycles Post-9/11,” Darcy Mullen, University of Albany, SUNY



2:45-4:00pm     Humor, Whiteness, Color and Masculinity: The Work of Stand Up Comedy


Session Chair: Peter Kunze, University of Albany, SUNY


  • “From Richard Pryor to Kevin Hart: African Americans and Stand Up Concert Films,”

Keith Corson, New York University


  • “Louis CK’s Little White Lies: Performing Whiteness as Ideologiekritik,”

Peter Kunze, University of Albany, SUNY


  • “ ‘It’s Over and I Hate Myself’: Louis CK and the New Masculinity,”

Erin Mock, University of West Georgia



4:15-5:30pm   Down East, Southwest, and the Reformers of Humor


Session Chair: TBA


  • “Humor and Reformers in the Nineteenth-Century”

Theresa Prados-Torreira, Columbia College, Chicago


  • “Humor on the Urban Frontier,” David E.E. Sloane, University of New Haven


  • “You Can’t Get There from Here: In Search of Downeast Humor on the Borderlands of Maine”

Peter M. Robinson, College of Mount St. Joseph





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Breakfast: 8:30 – 9am



9 – 10:15am               Humor in 19th Century Texts, and Why It Still Matters


Session Chair: Janice McIntire-Strasburg, St. Louis University


  • “Silent, and Not So Silent Sabotage in Charles Chestnutt’s ‘The Passing of Grandison’” Gretchen Martin, University of Virginia


  • “Before and After the War: The Necessity of Including Page’s “Mars Chan” in the Constellation of American Humor,” Tracy Wuster, University of Texas at Austin


  • “Sober Mirth and Licentious Jest: Exploring the Paradoxes of Colonial Puritan Humor,” Patrick Brooks, Saint Louis University



10:30am – 11:15 am 


Session Chair: Ann M. Ryan, Le Moyne College


  • “Truth or Truthiness? The New Humor in Early 20th Century America: Buster Keaton’s Playhouse”

Rich Des Rochers, Long Island University


  • “Death From Laughter:Comedy and WWI Propaganda”

Maggie Hennefield, Brown University


  • “Kathryn Hepburn and ‘Box Office Poison’ in Hollywood Comedy: Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, and Philadelphia Story

Sheri Chinen- Bieson, Rowan University