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Skidmore College
American Studies Department

Beck KreftingRebecca Krefting photo

Rebecca Krefting, who goes by Beck, is an Associate Professor of American Studies, affiliate faculty to Gender Studies, and Director of the Media and Film Studies Program. She earned a BA in English and Psychology at the University of Alabama, Huntsville and an MA in Women’s Studies at Ohio State University (OSU). She completed her doctorate in American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Her research specializations are studies in humor and laughter; social identities; studies of visual and popular culture; identity and difference; women’s history; theatre and performance; preppers and post-apocalyptic cultural texts; and pedagogical studies.

All Joking Aside

Her monograph titled: All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014) charts the history and economy of charged humor or humor aimed at social justice. Earlier publications include essays in the edited anthology The Laughing Stalk (Parlor Press, 2012) and a co-authored chapter on feminist architectural education published in Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2011). Lately she has been publishing her work in places like Comedy Studies Journal and with edited collections such as: Hysterical!: Women in American Comedy (University of Texas Press, 2017), Taking a Stand: American Stand-up Comedians as Public Intellectuals (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Transgressive Humor of American Women Writers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), and Political Comedy: Critical Encounters (Lexington Books, 2018).

She has presented her research nationally and internationally and been invited to speak about her research—as a former stand-up comic, she can’t help but do so humorously—to many academic institutions including Emerson College, Yale University, Hampshire College, Drexel University, Concordia University, Young Harris College, UCLA, St. Norbert’s College and ugh, you get the point. She’s had a lot of fun talking with a lot of other smart people who like to think critically about comedy. Her current research turns to examining the impact of new media on the comedy industry. Though it lacks the humor that she so enjoys, Beck has also begun exploring the shared cultural practices and media treatment of preppers in the US.

Subscribing to the credo that teaching and research are symbiotic, Beck teaches courses fueled by her own scholarship like: Disorderly Women; Intro to American Studies: A Humorous (Dis)Course; or Post-Apocalyptic Film and Literature. Other course topics include: American foodways, human dilemmas, contemporary American cultures, critical whiteness, diversity and identity, U.S. comedic cultural forms, and Black feminisms. She was recognized for excellence in teaching at OSU when she was nominated for a graduate teaching award in 2004 and again at UMD when the Center for Teaching Excellence named her a Graduate Teaching Fellow (2009-10). Skidmore seniors (Class of 2013) invited Beck to be their faculty commencement speaker where she went off-script and talked about Jerusalem fartichokes #noregrets.

Her work is transdisciplinary and likewise she has taught in many disciplines including Women’s Studies, American Studies, African American Studies, Gender Studies and in UMD’s Honors Humanities Program as a Doctoral Teaching Fellow.

If you just cannot get enough of this lady, you can check out her website here where you will find editorials, links to her scholarship, course descriptions and information, etc.

Email Beck:
Follow Beck on Twitter: @beckrefting