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Asian American Humor: The Power of Disruptive Laughter in Literature and Media Open Access

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This project aims to increase interest and awareness of Asian American humor in literature and media, a subject that has so far been neglected by critics and the general public. "Asian American Humor" expands upon the work of established Asian American literary scholars and their efforts to analyze and promote texts of political and cultural resistance. This dissertation widens the field's scope to include humorous works and to provide critiques and remedies to political, social and literary problems. On one hand, the project demonstrates how humor resists dominant nationalist power structures, racial stereotyping, and limitations imposed by traditional literary conventions and entertainment distribution methods. On the other hand, it argues that humor offers remedies to these issues. Humor can be a reparative tool that helps individuals and communities heal colonial wounds and reclaim agency. Humor can create opportunities for representational resistance through new genres and politically progressive counter memories. And lastly, humor can cultivate a safe and validating environment in order to share painful experiences and create opportunities for understanding and solidarity with others. More broadly, this project seeks to do more than just analyze humor through the lens of major Asian American literary debates. It also investigates ways to use humor to bolster the voices of writers and performers and create opportunities for healing and recovery, agency and growth while still promoting the reformation of political and social institutions.

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