The Politics of Humour: Laughter, Inclusion, and Exclusion in the Twentieth Century

Edited by Martina Kessel and Patrick Merziger

© 2011

The period between the First World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall is often characterized as the age of extremes—while this era witnessed unprecedented violence and loss of human life, it also saw a surge in humorous entertainment in both democratic and authoritarian societies. The Politics of Humour examines how works such as satirical magazines and comedy films were used both to reaffirm group identity and to exclude those who did not belong.

The essays in this collection analyse the political and social context of comedy in Europe and the United States, exploring topics ranging from the shifting targets of ethnic jokes to the incorporation of humour into wartime broadcasting and the uses of satire as a means of resistance. Comedy continues to define the nature of group membership today, and The Politics of Humour offers an intriguing look at how entertainment helped everyday people make sense of the turmoil of the twentieth century.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Illustrations: 12
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.3in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP003102

  • PUBLISHED JAN 2012

    From: $45.75

    Regular Price: $61.00

    ISBN 9781442642928
  • PUBLISHED JAN 2012

    From: $45.75

    Regular Price: $61.00

Quick Overview

The Politics of Humour offers an intriguing look at how entertainment helped everyday people make sense of the turmoil of the twentieth century.

The Politics of Humour: Laughter, Inclusion, and Exclusion in the Twentieth Century

Edited by Martina Kessel and Patrick Merziger

© 2011

The period between the First World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall is often characterized as the age of extremes—while this era witnessed unprecedented violence and loss of human life, it also saw a surge in humorous entertainment in both democratic and authoritarian societies. The Politics of Humour examines how works such as satirical magazines and comedy films were used both to reaffirm group identity and to exclude those who did not belong.

The essays in this collection analyse the political and social context of comedy in Europe and the United States, exploring topics ranging from the shifting targets of ethnic jokes to the incorporation of humour into wartime broadcasting and the uses of satire as a means of resistance. Comedy continues to define the nature of group membership today, and The Politics of Humour offers an intriguing look at how entertainment helped everyday people make sense of the turmoil of the twentieth century.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Illustrations: 12
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.3in
  • Author Information

    Martina Kessel is a professor in the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology at the University of Bielefeld.



    Patrick Merziger is a research associate in the Department of Modern and Contemporary History at the Free University of Berlin.

  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations

    Introduction: Landscapes of Humour. The History and Politics of the Comical in the Twentieth Century by Martina Kesse (University of Bielefeld, Germany)

    1. When Are Jewish Jokes No Longer Funny? Ethnic Humour in Imperial and Republican Berlin by Peter Jelavich (Johns Hopkins University)
    2. Creole Cartoons by Mark Winokur (University of Colorado)
    3. Talking War, Debating Unity. Order, Conflict, and Exclusion in 'German Humour' in World War One by Martina Kessel
    4. Producing a Cheerful Public. Light Radio Entertainment During National Socialism by Monika Pater (Hamburg University)
    5. Humour in the Volksgemeinschaft. The Disappearance of Destructive Satire in National Socialist Germany by Patrick Merziger (University of Colorado)
    6. Laughing to Keep from Dying: Jewish Self-Hatred and The Larry Sanders Show by Vincent Brook (UCLA, USC, Cal-State LA, and Pierce College)
    7. Ethnic Humour and Ethnic Politics in the Netherlands at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century: The Rules and Attraction of Clandestine Humour by Giselinde Kuipers (University of Amsterdam)
    8. The Tongues of Mocking Wenches: Humour and Gender in Late Twentieth-Century British Fiction by Eileen Gillooly (Columbia University)

    List of Contributors

Related Titles