Development of Jewish Humor, The

Development of Jewish Humor, The

Course by Edward Portnoy at Rutgers University.

From the Website:

“Known historically as the “People of the Book,” the Jews are perhaps better known in the  modern era as the “People of the Joke.” With a history of popular humor production that  dates from the 19th century onward, Jewish comedy writers contributed heavily to the  entertainment world in a variety of locales. The comedy industry, particularly in the  United States, would come to be dominated by Jewish writers, whose cultural  backgrounds frequently played a role in their comedic products. This course will survey  the development of Jewish humor as a cultural phenomenon during the 19th and 20th  centuries, focusing mainly on the history of American Jewish comedic output, but also  delving into Jewish material from Eastern Europe, the USSR, and Israel.

By analyzing the development of Jewish humor, we will be able to gain insight into the  variety of Jewish cultures and the ways in which they are affected by historical valences,  as well as issues such as acculturation, assimilation, and methods employed in matters of  cultural maintenance.”

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