Paul Alonso Awarded Fulbright to Conduct Research and Teach in Peru

Posted March 26, 2024

Stand-up comedy has never been just about laughs, a premise Georgia Tech’s Paul Alonso plans to explore more deeply thanks to a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award.  

Comedian George Carlin’s 1972 bit, “Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV,” got him arrested, generated a landmark Supreme Court case, and raised profound questions about censorship that are still relevant today. 

Paul Alonso, an associate professor in the School of Modern Languages, has studied how  political humorists and comedians such as Carlin use media platforms to push social boundaries, make us question what we think we know, and speak truth to power.  

The Fulbright will take Alonso to his native Peru, where he will conduct new research in “Political Humor as Hybrid Alternative Media” and teach a seminar at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima.  

“The Fulbright Scholar Award is an emblematic and prestigious recognition for scholars around the world, and I’m happy to be one of them,” said Alonso. “I am very appreciative of this acknowledgment.” 

New Research Directions 

Alonso’s work in Peru will build on his earlier research on “the relationship between media and entertainment and the role of satire in public discourse.”  

“My previous research focused on the role of sociopolitical satire in different platforms as a thermometer of the parameters of dissent in contemporary democracies and the role that it could take in public communication,” said Alonso. 

His book Satiric TV in the Americas: Critical Metatainment as Negotiated Dissent was published by Oxford University Press in 2020, and his forthcoming book on “Digital Satire in Latin America” will be out in November 2024.  

Alonso will be in Peru in the fall of 2024 or spring of 2025, exploring “the role of new performative spaces, such as alternative stand-up comedy circuits.”  

“The U.S. has an important tradition of stand-up comedians. Over the last decade, Latin American countries seem to have emerging scenes and alternative stand-up comedians,” said Alonso. “I’d like to explore more about their construction of humor, the dynamics of these alternative spaces, and their role in public discourse — either reinforcing stereotypes or challenging the establishment.” 

An Insider Perspective 

A Peruvian journalist and author with a doctorate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Alonso joined the School of Modern Languages in 2013.  

In addition to numerous research journals, he has been published in some of the most prestigious Spanish-language newspapers and magazines, including El País and El Nuevo Herald. He is the author of three fiction books and has hosted interview shows in Peru.  

“Having worked in the media industry, I gained an insider perspective of how the journalism and entertainment industries work,” said Alonso. “I also think I still see the world through a journalist’s eyes. This has infused my academic work and my intellectual curiosity about the role of media in contemporary democracies."

The School of Modern Languages is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

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Associate Professor Paul Alonso in the School of Modern Languages

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Contact For More Information

Stephanie N. Kadel
Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts