Season 3, Episode 5

Religion & Humor

Religion isn’t always serious business! From standup comedy to the satire we watch onstage and onscreen, religion often provides rich source material for humor. At the same time, many Americans learn about religious people, ideas, and practices through humor. An important cultural touchstone, humor serves as a medium through which groups articulate religious identities and become socially legible, and through which the public develops their understanding of not only particular groups, but religion overall. Join us for a lively discussion with a panel of experts on Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish humor and explore the fascinating relationship between religion and humor in American popular culture.

Host: Krista Longtin

Dr. Krista Longtin is an Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she leads health communication training programs for IU’s over 4,000 faculty, medical students, residents, and graduate students. Krista is dually appointed as an associate professor in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Communication Studies. Her research focuses on communication education and faculty development in the sciences and health professions. Krista is the co-editor for the Public Library of Science’s Science Communication blog and leads a graduate minor in Communicating Science at IUPUI. She has served as a consultant on communication and education projects for national and international organizations including the Indiana State Department of Health and the European Science Media Hub.

Krista's full bio

Panelist: Stephanie Brehm

Stephanie Brehm is Assistant Director for Academic and Strategic Initiatives in The Graduate School at Northwestern University. Her academic work uses ethnographic and media studies methods to explore the intersection of entertainment, mass media, and religion in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American society. She is currently the Assistant Director for Academic Development in The Graduate School where she developed and implemented the strategic plan, reviews curriculum, manages interdisciplinary graduate assistantships, and leads the assessment initiative.

 

Stephanie's full bio

Panelist: Jenny Caplan

Jenny Caplan is a scholar of American religion and popular culture at the University of Cincinnati. She specializes in American Judaism and work extensively with film, television, internet media, humor, graphic novels, video games, board games, and other sites of pop culture engagement. She has been studying religion and religious history since 1997 and has published extensively on media portrayals of Jews and Judaism. Jenny’s book, Funny, You Don’t Look Funny: Judaism and Humor from the Silent Generation to Millennials was published in 2023.

Jenny's full bio

Panelist: Samah Choudhury

Samah Choudhury is Assistant Professor in the department of Philosophy and Religion at Ithaca College. Her research surrounds American Muslim humor and the politics that accompany what it means to be socially legible in the United States. Samah focuses particularly on how Islam and Muslims are articulated through the medium of standup comedy – a highly staged and embodied genre that reveals how Islam finds recognition (and becomes obscured) through discourses of race, gender, affect, and American secularism.

Sarah's full bio

This event took place on January 23rd, 2023.

Additional Resources

“Religion &”: Center Conversations on the State of Religion and the Current Moment

“Religion &” is a series of monthly conversations between leading academics and thinkers in multiple fields hosted by the Center to continue these critically important interventions.  Every Third Thursday at 3p ET we discuss a topic that looks at the relationship between religion, the pressing issues of our day, and their impact on the fields we study.

Previous episodes of “Religion &” can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

A JOURNAL OF INTERPRETATION: This semiannual publication explores the interplay between religion and other spheres of American culture.

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