April 20, 2018

VSU Offers Summer Course on Humor

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Department of Communication Arts will have a “serious discussion” on humor when it offers Critical Analysis of Humor to graduate students during the Summer 2018 semester June 6 to July 26.

“We tend to lack a sense of humor sometimes in an academic setting, so hopefully this class will change things up a bit,” said Dr. David Nelson, the associate professor of communication arts who created and began teaching the course last summer.

The course will examine humor throughout history, from pre-Biblical times to the present moment, to see how it has evolved and defined certain eras and societies.

“Humor is like a time machine for pop culture,” Nelson said. “It reflects the values and sentiments of that time period. In many cases, what was once funny or acceptable no longer is, and we’ll study that shift.

“We’ll also look at how humor plays into our daily experiences and how we go about discovering it. Humor is a big part of cultural identity, and we have such a variety of it — college versus political, rural versus urban.

“It has a powerful presence in our world. The course will analyze humor as a tool of communication used to challenge social norms, stereotypical associations, the dominant culture, and much more.”

The course will allow students to study a variety of comedic material, from stand-up shows and sitcoms to comics and humorous articles. 

“Why do grad classes always have to be boring?” asked Nelson, who has performed stand-up comedy and studied humor academically for many years. “We can have fun, cool stuff that’s relevant, and that’s what this class is. It’s a unique class for intellectually curious students who want to sit down and have a serious discussion about humor.”

Critical Analysis of Humor, MAIC 7700, is open to all graduate students.

Contact Dr. David Nelson at (229) 245-3840 or drnelson@valdosta.edu to learn more. 

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