Search Criteria


Key Word Search by:

Organization Type

State or Jurisdiction

Congressional District


Division or Office

Grants to:

Date Range Start

Date Range End

  • Special Searches

    Product Type

    Media Coverage Type


Search Results

Grant number like: AQ-50260-10

Permalink for this Search

Page size:
 1 items in 1 pages
Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
Page size:
 1 items in 1 pages
AQ-50260-10Education Programs: Enduring Questions: Pilot Course GrantsWake Forest UniversityNEH Enduring Questions Course on "Why Do People Laugh?"6/1/2010 - 12/31/2011$24,800.00CynthiaM.Gendrich   Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemNC27109-6000USA2010Theater History and CriticismEnduring Questions: Pilot Course GrantsEducation Programs248000248000

The development of a first-year undergraduate seminar on comedy and humor drawing from ancient to modern sources, including Aristophanes, Moliere, Wilde, and Toole.

This first-year seminar course will ask, Why do people laugh? The why aims to examine both the potential functions of laughter -- psychological, physiological, social -- and what makes us laugh. In the thousands of years it has been studied, laughter has always been a gauge of society's rules, preoccupations, and attitudes. It is also been hailed as a marker of psychological and physical well-being. Theorists have speculated that we laugh because we feel superior or surprised, because we need release, because we are weak, sacrilegious, or cruel, yet most people don't think about why they laugh. What induces or stifles it? What are its benefits and limits? This course will examine these questions and more, through core readings, including essays by Aristotle, Castlevetro, Bergson, and Langer, among others; plays by Aristophanes, Moliere, and Wilde; and novels by Austen and Toole, supplemented by materials from psychology, physiology, religion, the visual arts, and music.