Jack Black

Apr 28, 2021

Race, Racism and Political Correctness in Comedy

A Psychoanalytic Exploration

Routledge 2021

Jack Black, Race, Racism and Political Correctness in Comedy (Routledge 2021). In what ways is comedy subversive? This vital new book critically considers the importance of comedy in challenging and redefining our relations to race and racism through the lens of political correctness.

On this episode of New Books Network, your host Lee M. Pierce (they) interviews author Jack Black (he) about psychoanalysis, PC culture, The Office, and the subversive potential of comedy to change our collective experience. Race, Racism and Political Correctness in Comedy engages with the social and cultural tensions inherent to our understandings of political correctness, arguing that comedy can subversively redefine our approach to ‘PC debates’, contestations surrounding free speech and the popular portrayal of political correctness in the media and society. Aided by the work of both Slavoj Žižek and Alenka Zupančič, this unique analysis adopts a psychoanalytic/philosophical framework to explore issues of race, racism and political correctness in the widely acclaimed BBC ‘mockumentary’, The Office (UK), as well as a variety of television comedies. Jack Black is a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. After completing his postgraduate studies at Loughborough University, his research has continued to explore the interrelationships between sociology, media and communications and cultural studies.

The clip from The Office discussed in the interview is here.

Connect with Jack on Twitter @jackstblack and with Lee @rhetoriclee.

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Lee Pierce

Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking.
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