Department of History

No Respect: Jewish Humor Around the world Conference

No Respect: Jewish Humor Around the World Conference

Saturday, February 29 – Monday, March 2 2020 

The University of North Carolina Wilmington Department of History is proud to host the No Respect: Jewish Humor Around the World Conference, from Saturday, February 29 – Monday, March 2 2020, with support from the Charles and Hannah Block Fund and the Rhine Family Endowment for Jewish Studies. The panel presentations and keynote lecture are free and open to the public.



Conference Schedule

Saturday, February 29

6:00-7:30 p.m.: Opening reception at Embassy Suites by Hilton (by invitation only)

Sunday, March 1

8:15 a.m.: Shuttle leaves Embassy Suites for UNCW campus

9:00 a.m.: Opening Remarks

9:15-10:45 a.m.: Jewish Humor - Foundational Texts (FSC Wrightsville Beach Room 2017)

  • Chair: Matthew Poirier (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Leonard Greenspoon (Creighton University): It’s Funny and It’s in Tanach.  But—Is Biblical Humor Jewish? 
  • Mark Leuchter (Temple University): Is Mel Brooks Also Among the Prophets?
  • Louis Kaplan (University of Toronto): Jewish Joke 1911/2019: From Alexander Moszkowski’s Jüdische Witz to Erez Israeli’s Holocaust Humor

10:45-11:00 a.m.: Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 p.m.: Jewish Humor in Literature (FSC Wrightsville Beach Room 2017)

  • Chair: Rebecca Mullins (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Jarrod Tanny (University of North Carolina Wilmington): Is There a Montreal Jewish Humor? The Case of Mordecai Richler
  • Ruth von Bernuth (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): Laughter as Cure: Hershele Ostropolyer in Mezhibizh
  • Steve Weinberg (Rutgers University): Transcending Slapstick: How Kafka Metamorphosed the Gesture in Silent Film and Yiddish Theater to Forge a New Humor of the Absurd

12:30-1:45 p.m.: Lunch (FUU Azalea Coast Room - A & B 2001) (conference participants)

2:00-3:30 p.m.: Jewish Humor in Popular Media (FSC Wrightsville Beach Room 2017)

  • Chair: David Houpt (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Lauren Brooks (High Point University): No Disrespect: Kafka and the Soup Nazis
  • Marat Grinberg (Reed College): The Travails of Being a Soviet Jewish Comedian: Michael Idov's The Humorist (2019)
  • Ber Kotlerman (Bar Ilan University): Sholem Aleichem and Charlie Chaplin: Translating Yiddish Humor into the Language of Early Cinema
  • Grace Overbeke (Duke University): Jean Carroll and the Negotiation of Jewish Femininity

4:00-5:45 p.m.: Keynote lecture-concert: Laughing Against Fascism: Soviet Yiddish Songs of World War II, by Psoy Korolenko (Musician) and Anna Shternshis (University of Toronto) (FSC Wrightsville Beach Room 2017)

6:00-7:30 p.m.: Reception (by invitation only) (FSC Clock Tower Lounge 2000)

7:30 p.m.: Shuttle leaves UNCW for the Embassy Suites

Monday, March 2

8:15 a.m.: Shuttle leaves Embassy Suites for UNCW campus

9:00-10:30 a.m.: Humor and the Holocaust-Europe (FSC Wrightsville Beach Room 2017)

  • Chair: Michael Seidman (Univeristy of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Ilana McQuinn (Davidson College): The Tragi-Comic and the Grotesque: Holocaust Humor as a Historical Phenomenon in Communist Czechoslovakia
  • Bradley Fritch (University of Central Oklahoma): Humor in Hell: How Jewish Comedians Continued their Performances in Theresienstadt
  • Lawrence Baron (San Diego State University): Dani Levy and the Return of Jewish Film Comedy to Reunified Germany
  • Ashley Passmore (Texas A&M University): Holocaust “Camp”: Excess as Resistance in the Third Generation in Germany

10:30-10:45 a.m.: Coffee Break

10:45-12:15 p.m.: Humor and the Holocaust-Israel (FSC Wrightsville Beach Room 2017)

  • Chair: Venkat Dhulipala (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Avinoam Patt (University of Connecticut): Laughing Off the Trauma of (Jewish) History: The Jews are Coming
  • Liat Steir-Livny (The Open University, Sapir Academic College): The Satiric Critique in Israel of the Trips to the Former Concentration Camps 

       12:15: Closing Remarks

       12:30: Boxed Lunches (FSC Clock Tower Lounge 2000) (conference participants)