Comedy: A Defining Force in Group Identification
A Two-Day Symposium and Comedy Fest
March 2–3, 2009

The Symposium is free and open to the public

ASL Interpreters provided

We are grateful for the generous support of the
William J. Cooper Foundation at Swarthmore College


CEU's for Teachers, ASL teachers, and Certified Interpreters
Directions, Maps, parking and food

Monday, March 2 at 4:15pm in Lang Performing Arts Center:
Victor Raskin's lecture “Comedy: A defining force in group identification” will address the bonding nature of humor.

Monday, March 2 at 8:00pm in Lang Performing Arts Center
: Comedy Fest featuring four comediennes (see profiles below). Reception will follow.

On Tuesday, March 3 at 4:15pm in Science Center 101
: Professor Raskin will lead a discussion of the comedy fest from the evening before. Following that, the comediennes will each conduct comedy workshops and Professor Raskin will give a workshop on how and why to do humor research.

Participation in all five workshops on Tuesday afternoon March 3: If you wish to participate, you must register for one workshop on Monday, February 23. These workshops are free and open to the public. Click here and include your name, email address and telephone number and say which workshop you want to be in.  You must have at least a rudimentary background in ASL to be part of the workshop with Lynn Jacobowitz. 

Victor Raskin, Distinguished Professsor of English and Linguistics at Purdue University and editor of International Journal of Humor Research will lecture on the bonding nature of humor, particularly for oppressed minorities.

Victor Raskin was born in Irbit, U.S.S.R. He and his wife emigrated from the U.S.S.R. to Israel in 1973, and have been Israeli citizens since 1973. They moved to the U.S.A. in 1978, became permanent residents of the U.S.A. in 1979, and became U.S. citizens in 1984.

"Humor research is a high-powered multidisciplinary field, in which linguistics has played a leading role for over a quarter of a century. The dominant linguistic theory of humor treats it as a clever juxtaposition of two opposing and partially overlapping scripts. Groups that share the same scripts' availability for humor bond by laughing together at everything and everybody outside (and sometimes inside as well). "

Lisa Alvarado is one funny Latina! She has transformed her unique life experiences as a Single Parent into a hilarious comedy routine. Her natural charisma on stage, beauty, and sense of humor make her the complete package.Born in Chicago to Peruvian parents, Lisa knew she wanted to be a Stand Up Comedian at an early age. She writes all her own material and enjoys teaching and writing for other Stand Up Comedians. She also toured with the Player’s Workshop of Second City in Chicago performing Improv, which has given her impeccable comedic timing. Click here to view Lisa's website.

Robin Cee is one of those rare performers who automatically light up a stage and screen with a truck load of high energized fun and likableness. Robin reminds you of that quirky, dingbat yet lovable relative or best friend that you look forward to seeing, and hanging out with. Her funniness and like ability factor transcend age, religion, culture boarder lines and species. Your grandparents, your Rabbi and even your pet hamster will all find her amusing and engaging!

Robin has literally traveled the world and back, just for the sole purpose of making people laugh. Standup has taken Robin everywhere from the Officer's Club in Lakenheath, England to some hotel in Flin Flon -Manitoba, Canada; and from the Riviera in Las Vegas to a bowling alley in Kona, Hawaii. Click here for more info on Robin Cee.

Dawn Dumont is a Plains Cree comedian and actress born and raised in Saskatchewan Canada. Her reservation, the Okanese First Nation, is quite possibly the smallest reservation in the world but what it doesn’t have in terms of land area, the people make up for in sheer head size.Dawn’s comedy style has been described as a coy smile covering a killer wit. Dawn has made people laugh at comedy clubs across North American including the New York’s Comic Strip, the New York Comedy Club and the Improv. Dawn is also a comedy writer and has written for the stage, radio, film and television. Click here to visit Dawn's website.


E. Lynn Jacobowitz, Ph.D., ASLTA, a professor in the Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, is globally known for her comedy, poetry and storytelling performances, consultations, and collection of cartoons about Deaf culture and humor. She provided presentations on ASL, Deaf culture, Deaf folklore, ASL pedagogical methods, and materials for sign language, education and interpreter teachers.  She published articles in Sign Language Studies and other professional journals.  Dr. Jacobowitz is a co-author of this whimsical Dr. Seuss-like product,  “Have You Ever Seen ..? An American Sign Language Handshape DVD/Book.”  Dr. Jacobowitz is co-owner and President of ASL Rose, a unique collaboration that creates, publishes and distributes American Sign Language – English bilingual educational materials. 

CEU's: Teachers can receive Act 48 hours (CEU's) for attending and participating in the conference. ASL teachers may acquire Clock Hours for ASLTA. For both groups, there will be forms for you to fill out at the conference. You do not need to do anything ahead of time and this is offered at no cost to you.

Certified Sign Language Interpreters may acquire RID CEU’s through the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre, Inc, at a small cost. Those interested should contact Maria Elia at least one week prior to the first day of the conference. Her email:

We are not an ASHA provider. Sorry.

Directions and Maps: For directions to Swarthmore College and a campus map, click here. Park in #17 DuPont Parking or #57 Water Tower Parking.

Food: There are many restaurants within walking distance of or a short drive from the college. Click here to see restaurants in the area. However, attendees are invited to buy dinner in Sharples (the campus dining hall) on Monday and Tuesday.  The cost is $8.00 per person for dinner, and you can pay at the door.

Sponsors: This conference is organized by the Linguistics Department at Swarthmore College and sponsored by the William J. Cooper Foundation.

Co-sponsors include:
Black Studies
English Literature
Intercultural Center
Latin American Studies
Multicultural Affairs
Sociology and Anthropology
Women’s Studies

For more information email:
Swarthmore College
500 College AV
Swarthmore, PA 19081