South Asian

American Muslim Humor and the Politics of Secularity

Samah Choudhury
Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies
Ithaca College

American Muslim Humor and the Politics of Secularity will be the first book-length analysis of contemporary American Muslim standup comedy as an embodied performance of secular communication. It explores how a sense of humor has come to be thought of as a civic and cultural expectation in secular societies and why Muslims are consistently figured as lacking this critical comportment of modern personhood. By examining the standup comedy routines, television shows, and films produced by South Asian American Muslim comedians between 2010 and 2020, this project seeks to understnad how these performers cultivate a funny Muslim self that displaces stereotypes about Islamic terrorism, violence, and misogyny while also providing a representation of the Islam that ultimately aligns with – and is limited to – hegemonic state visions of multiculturalism and diversity.

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