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Laughing Matters: Humor, Class, Race and Gender (Rytkonen PWR 2)

Research Strategy Guide for:
Laughing Matters: Humor, Race, Class and Gender PWR2
Instructor: Helle Rytkonen/ Winter 2008
Librarian: Malgorzata Schaefer /

The Basics
To find books and films, use the online catalog, Socrates.
To find journal, newspaper and/or magazine articles, use a Database.

Note: To open any link in a new window or tab, simply right click on the link and select Open in New Window or Open in New Tab.

This research guide was created by Molly Molloy and Malgorzata Schaefer

How to find a reference source:

  • Use Reference Universe (find it on the Databases page). Check the titles in Socrates for exact location.
  • Ask a Librarian (see left top) or browse the 3 reference collections in Green Library: The IC (Information Center), SSRC and HASRC reading rooms have thousands of reference sources chosen by library subject specialists.

Here are some that we found:


  • Use the library catalog, Socrates, and type in a few keywords to describe your topic. Use Simple Search and Search Everything.
  • Find an interesting book in the list of results. Look at the Detailed Record. Note the Subject Headings (LC) and the Call Number/Location. Click on “Nearby Items on Shelf” to find other books on similar topics.
  • Click on the link for Subject Heading (LC), or use part or all of the subject heading in a New Search.
  • Use the Call Number to find a relevant book in the stacks, and browse the shelves for other related books.

Some examples of appropriate Socrates Subject Headings
Click on the Subject button after you type in your search.

A sample of books we found:


  • Use Combined Search in Socrates and limit the Format to Films/Visual.
  • You can do a Subject search for Stand up comedy.

Here are a few films that might be of interest:

    Why you crying? 2005 Media Microtext Collection (Lower Level) ZDVD 11625)

    Allah made me funny 2004 Media Microtext Collection (Lower Level) ZDVD 13665)

    Looking for comedy in the Muslim world 2006 Media Microtext Collection (Lower Level) ZDVD 12662)

    Find films by Margaret Cho (also her books), Lenny Bruce


  • Try a database. You can select by large subject groupings, then click on the + sign next to the database to get a description
  • or click on Not Sure Which Database to Use to get started. Below are suggested Databases to start for your class:

Academic Search Premier - a general, multidisciplinary database with scholarly and popular articles

Expanded Academic ASAP - similar to above, with different content

Global Newsbank - searchable by topics, such as “Film and Television”, “ethnic humor or jokes” or “Suggested searches: cartoons and animation”, links to America’s Newspapers

Ethnic News Watch - fulltext articles from ethnic magazines and minority press – you can limit to an ethnic group, such as African American Magazines
Also add any of the following by clicking on "Select multiple databases" link on the Search page:
GenderWatch - a full text database of unique and diverse publications that focus on how gender impacts a broad spectrum of subject areas
Alt-Press Watch - a full text database comprised of newspapers, magazines and journals of the alternative and independent press (prior to 1991, hardcopy in IC: Z7164)
New York Times (1851-2004); afterwards use Lexis Nexis
Social Sciences Module - periodicals on social science subjects such as anthropology, culture, criminology, political science, social welfare, urban development, and more

Contemporary Women’s Issues - a database with articles from scholarly and popular magazines on feminist issues

Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life - scholarly articles

CSA Illumina - an interface that allows you to select several different databases, specifically try:

Article accessible from JSTOR: Boskin, Joseph, “Ethnic humor: subversion and survival,” American Quarterly, vol. 37, no.1(special issue: American Humor, Spring 1985):81-97


    Ethnic and Racial Studies
    Media, Culture, and Society
    Southern Cultures

    Also browse subjects: Media, Communication, and journalism; and Ethnic Studies

Facts on File News Services Databases - select Issues and Controversies, Special Features, then click on Editorial Cartoons & Questions
See also Art and Architecture Library
Under Research Help see Online Resources and Databases, including Image Resources
The library has some good cartoon magazines, such as The Comics journal, International journal of comic art, etc.

See also Guide for PWR Students

Other Research Quick Start Guides

Cagle - Daryl Cagle's professional cartoonists' index
Cartoonist group - includes political cartoons
Internet Movie Database - see “external reviews”, “literature listings”
Iran cartoon site - with Holocaust cartoon contest and other international cartoons
The Onion - a weekly parody newspaper
NPR: National Public Radio

Try Librarians’ Internet Index – found the following sites there:

Important urls:

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