A number of our members have developed course materials, which they have graciously shared with ISHS for the benefit of fellow instructors interested in creating or improving a humor studies class. Find here listings of present and past humor studies courses, each with syllabi, handouts, powerpoint slides, links to teaching websites, and/or other helpful teaching materials.
Analytical Writing and Reading: Exploring Humor In Literature
(Ingrid Daemmrich, Spring 2006)
Why do we laugh? What do we laugh about?
In round tables, in groups, and as a class, we will analyze and evaluate collaboratively
a wide range of literary texts from Antiquity to the present, representing many different
nationalities and cultures, and including the traditional literary genres of prose, poetry,
and drama, as well as the specialized forms of humorous literature. Members will hold a
symposium on four contemporary plays, examinine humorously the "American dream" and write,
perform, and post on our Web CT a "what if" scene for their group's play.
Comedy, Tragedy, and Religion (John Morreall, 2004)
and tragedy began as kinds of drama but are now much more than that. We see events in
our livesas comic or tragic; indeed we can view a person's whole life, and even human life
itself, as a comedy or a tragedy. Like philosophies and religions, tragedy and comedy
involve beliefs and values; they embody visions of what it is to be a human being and to
live a worthwhile life. In this course we explore the visions of life in comedy and tragedy
and relate both to the world's major religions.
Hilarious Religion: Faith, God, and the Heresy of Laughter
(Bernard Schweitzer, 2014)
This class explores the vexed relationship between religion and laughter, faith and
comedy, God and mirth. The focus is predominantly on expressions of religious humor
in a Christian context.
Special Topics in the Psychology of Humour (Rod Martin, 1998)
The purpose of this course is to examine ways in which theoretical and empirical methods
drawn from each of these areas of psychology have been applied to the various phenomena of
humour. During the first few weeks of the course, lectures will be presented by the
instructor covering basic theoretical and methodological issues, approaches to studying
individual differences in sense of humour, and research on humour as a moderator of life
stress. The remainder of the course will involve student seminar presentations of research
on various aspects of humour selected from a list of suggested topics.
Introductory Psychology Seminar: Psychology of Humor (Martin Lampert, 2015)
Holy Names University’s Introductory Psychology Seminar served as the
second half of the major’s first year experience program and was
intended as a compliment to the first year student’s introductory
psychology survey course. In the seminar, all students reconsidered the
subdisciplines of psychology through the lense of a single area of psychological
research; learned how to review and evaluate psychological findings effectively
for papers, presentations, and research projects; and reflected on how they
can use psychological research to better understand themselves and other
people. The syllabus provided here is for the version of this course centered
around the psychology of humor.
The Effective Use of Humor in Business (Jim Lyttle, 2005)
course examines the important human phenomenon of humour. Its benefits include building
rapport, getting attention, relieving stress and gaining perspective. However, its
pitfalls include offending someone, losing credibility and serving as a distraction.
Managing its use responsibly requires some understanding of humour theory but, mostly, a
conceptualization of its interpersonal dynamics. Specific methodologies are developed to
help managers analyze humorous interactions so they can harvest its benefits while
avoiding its pitfalls. The course ends with a humour creation project.
Reading List Bibliography
Humor and Health (Kay Caskey and Laurie Young, 2006)
focuses on the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions of laughter,
humor and play. We explore recent discoveries and research regarding their role in human
physical and mental health. Students learn about the social significance of humor and
play, what makes people laugh and why, the role of happiness, and will learn ways to
increase happiness and playfulness, use laughter and humor as a stress management
technique, and build a basis for appropriate use of humor in helping others.
Humor: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Martin Lampert, 1998)
This course focuses on the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions
of laughter, humor and play. We explore recent discoveries and research regarding their
role in human physical and mental health. Students learn about the social significance
of humor and play, what makes people laugh and why, the role of happiness, and will
learn ways to increase happiness and playfulness, use laughter and humor as a stress
management technique, and build a basis for appropriate use of humor in helping others.
Humor across Disciplines (Don and Alleen Nilsen, 2012/2013)
The class was first taught through a fellowship program between Arizona State University's
Emeritus College and its Barrett Honors College. The class was taught in a seminar style
with 21 upper division students, who met twice a week for 75 minutes and earned three hours