Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-13-2015

Major Department or Program

Race and Ethnic Studies


Nicole Simek


Some scholars critique ethnic humor’s progressive potential, claiming that it relies on stereotypes for its comic effect and therefore cannot change racial understandings. The 1930’s radio show, The Goldbergs, deviates from this pattern: it was a comic show about a Jewish family that ran just as Jewishness was becoming conflated with whiteness. By intersecting 1930’s Jewish-American identity, the nature of radio in race production, and theories of ethnic humor, this thesis explores how an ethnic comedy came to undermine, rather than reinforce, the perception of its Jewish characters as “others.”

Page Count


Subject Headings

Ethnic groups -- identity, Ethnic stereotypes -- America (1930-1940), Jews -- Identity -- Case studies, Jews-- identity -- humor, Radio programs -- United States --- History and criticism, Other (Philosophy) -- Social aspects, Stereotyped behavior -- Ethnic humor, Rise of the Goldbergs (Radio Program) -- The Goldbergs, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2015 -- Race and Ethnic Studies

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Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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