Darren Zook

University of California, Berkeley

The Politics of Laughter

A thoughtful and humorous look at why comics and comedy writers may be the unsung heroes of political change. 


Darren Zook teaches in Global Studies and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

During his time at the University of California, Berkeley, Darren Zook has taught and published on a wide variety of topics, including the politics of music, human rights and international law, terrorism and security studies, multiculturalism and diversity, cybersecurity, and economic policy with a focus on anti-corruption programs. His research interests have continuously grown into an unusually broad portfolio of international and comparative projects, and his work has taken him to various parts of Asia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and northern Europe.

Aside from lecturing around the world on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the inextricable connection between surfing and democracy to why you should never trust public wi-fi, Zook has also been an engaged scholar who has used his work to build bridges within and between different communities. In 2019-2020, for example, he initiated an intergenerational dialogue program that brings together voices from different generations to hold discussions on different topics (climate change, women’s rights, student debt, and mental health).

Zook has been recognized many times for his contributions to education. He was the first recipient of UC Berkeley’s Golden Apple award (best professor on campus as chosen by the students), and was also named one of the “Top Ten Most Inspiring Professors at Cal” by College Magazine.

Zook is the author of a four-volume book project entitled Ourselves Among Others, which is an engaged critique of current diversity policy and practice in the United States. He has also published a comprehensive guide to law school, as well as The Cedars of Lebanon, his first novel.