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Grant number like: HB-50140-11

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Barry Steven Levitt
Florida International University Board of Trustees (Miami, FL 33199-2516)

Awards for Faculty
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2011 – 12/31/2011

Laughing at "Lo Politico": Mass Media Political Humor in Contemporary Latin America

What's so funny about politics? And why might political humor differ across time and place? This project examines contemporary political humor in seven Latin American societies. Drawing on a multidisciplinary cache of humor theory, I first ask what, exactly, makes different pieces funny and demonstrate that "what's funny" is itself a political issue. I explain why different modes of political humor are delivered through particular mass media, highlighting the dynamic cultural shifts that new communications technologies are driving in the region. And I examine whether the prevalence of different modes of political humor is shaped by national-level political regimes and laws. The project will produce a publicly-accessible online database of Latin American political humor, two journal articles (which will undergird a book project), and an undergraduate course syllabus, helping to advance the NEH's Bridging Cultures initiative.