ENGL489L - Language and Humor

English 489L, “Language and Humor,” examines how humor is created and how it works within particular social contexts. We’ll start by looking at theories of humor and acquiring a few tools for analyzing humor (and discourse in general). We’ll study how the mind processes humor, how it works as a social and rhetorical tool, and how ideas of what is funny reflect and interact with cultural assumptions. Objects of analysis will include a variety of humorous materials, from standard “canned” jokes to spontaneous conversational joking to humor embedded in more serious texts such as political speeches. Students will learn about humor in three ways: by reading what experts have written about it, by practicing specific types of analysis and texts in class discussion, and by producing their own focused and in-depth analyses in their papers and assignments. Course requirements include readings, participation in class discussion (important!), preliminary assignments/short papers, a final paper and a presentation to the class.

ENGL 489L Humor Clown

Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.