Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Sociology and Anthropology
Major or Concentration
"Laughter is the best medicine," the old maxim goes. However, it wasn't until recently that scientists tested this theory to prove the validity of this claim. In my thesis, I investigate the origins of Euro-American inquiries of human laughter, from Plato to Hobbes, and demonstrate how historical imaginings of laughter impact the modern biosocial discourse of humor and laughing to see how far we have- or haven't- come in proving ourselves right. With this "anthropology of professionals," I will offer an anthropological account of what laughter means to humans in order to better understand why biosocial models of laughing fall short of giving us a satisfying punchline to the riddle, "why do we laugh?"
Broyles, Christopher Michael, "Why did the Anthropologist Cross the Road: On the Anthropology of Humor and Laughter" (2016). Student Research Submissions. 68.