The Political Lives of Humor

The panel will explore the political work that humor does or can do across different political and cultural contexts, looking at both the laughter of the powerful and the ways in which it is used to turn their world inside out.


Stephen Duncombe is Professor of Media and Culture at New York University and author and editor of six books on the intersection of culture and politics. Duncombe, a life-long political activist, is currently co-founder and co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism, a research and training organization that helps activists create more like artists and artists strategize more like activists.

Danielle Roper is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Romance Languages Department at the University of Chicago. She graduated with a PhD from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University in 2015, where she defended her dissertation Inca Drag Queens and Hemispheric Blackface: Contemporary Blackface and Drag Performance from the Andes to Jamaica. She is currently writing a book entitled Hemispheric Blackface: Impersonation and Multiculturalism in the Americas.

M. Miroslava Salcido (1970) is a founding member of the performance group SEMEFO. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from the UNAM. Currently, she is a full-time Senior Research Associate at the Centro de Investigación Teatral Rodolfo Usigli (Rodolfo Usigli Center for Theatre Research) and coordinator of the research initiative “Liminalidad y espacios performativos” (Liminality and Performative Spaces) in the Masters Program in Theatre Research. She is the author of Performance. Hacia una filosofía de la corporalidad y el pensamiento subversivo (Performance: Towards a Philosophy of Corporeality and Subversive Thought) (CITRU/INBA, 2017).

Larry Bogad is an author, performer, and professor at UC Davis. His publications include: Tactical Performance; Electoral Guerrilla Theatre (Routledge) and COINTELSHOW (PM Press). His performances include: ECONOMUSIC, ORWELL’S WAR, POSSIBLE PASTS: SANTIAGO 9/11, HAYMARKET, EXIT 11, and A FAIR FIGHT.

Diana Taylor (Moderator) is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at New York University. She is the award winning author of multiple books, among them: Theatre of Crisis (1991), Disappearing Acts (1997), The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), and Performance (2016). Her new book, ¡Presente! The Politics of Presence, is forthcoming with Duke University Press. Taylor is director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics which she helped found in 1998. In 2017, Taylor was President of the Modern Language Association and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Science.