Anthropology of Humor and Laughter

Edited by Ewa Wasilewska
©2013, 360 pages

Paperback list price: $ 138.95

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Anthropology of Humor and Laughter

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    Studying laughter is not a laughing matter. Humor is a serious issue. They are not the same as laughter exists without humor and not all humor leads to laughter. While laughter is a seizure-like activity beyond one’s control, humor is a cognitive exercise challenging one’s ability to comprehend its formula and content. While both are associated with mirth, they can cause sorrow and anger, or even kill. This book is a presentation of what we think we know about laughter and humor as well as an exploration into the unknown, suggesting new directions for the future research.

    Anthropology of Humor and Laughter examines basic functions of laughter and complexities of humor that make life not only worth living but actually physically impossible to live without. If so, are these two behaviors limited to humans only? This question and many others are discussed in this book, providing the reader with the tools to study the topic even further while, at the same time, making sure that a book about humor is not boring. Laughter might be annoying but humor is inherently offensive so… Be aware! Potential for offensiveness is very high with this book as it addresses issues of religion, ethnicity, race, sex, etc., as expressed through and ridiculed by humor.

    Dr. Ewa Wasilewska is an Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology and Middle East Center, University of Utah, specializing in the Middle East and Central Asia where she has conducted her fieldwork. She has not only been known for her adventurous trips but also for her story-telling, high-heels, and her brain. She has been diagnosed with NCSE (non-convulsive status epilepticus) disorder i.e., her brain is seizing continuously for the last 10 years. As she can watch and evaluate her seizures, Dr. Wasilewska has focused her brain research on another activity she does in excess too: laughing. While her brain and survival defy science, she strongly suspects that laughing through her life seems to save it too.
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