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Grant number like: AQ-50840-13

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AQ-50840-13Education Programs: Enduring Questions: Pilot Course GrantsUCLA; Regents of the University of California, Los AngelesNEH Enduring Questions Course on "What Is the Nature of Human Laughter and Humor?"7/1/2013 - 6/30/2015$24,964.00Otto Santa Ana   UCLA; Regents of the University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesCA90024-4201USA2013Interdisciplinary Studies, GeneralEnduring Questions: Pilot Course GrantsEducation Programs24964020896.170

The development of a cross-listed undergraduate course on the nature of human laughter and humor.

IS THE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE OF LAUGHTER MALEVOLENT OR BENEVOLENT? This EQ might surprise you, since today it's commonplace to believe that "laughter is the best medicine." But the eminent thinkers of the Western tradition have not always been so sanguine. Hobbes and Bergson did not think laughter was benign. For dissimilar reasons Locke and Bahktin disputed this. The EQ encapsulates topics that scientists now urgently study. The course will deepen students' understanding of human nature by applying humanist insights to a contemporary phenomenon. It makes manifest the importance of asking EQs. Students consume comedy, but are only dimly aware that their amusement has political effects--due to laughter's nature. Moreover, they may not realize that media conglomerates sell their laughter as a commodity. The humanist tradition equips them to better reflect on these weighty implications of laughter. And they'll learn that when scientists dismiss humanist considerations, their science suffers.