Spring 4-27-2016

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Mentore, Laura

Second Advisor

Gable, Eric

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration


Department or Program

Sociology and Anthropology


"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?"



Included in

Anthropology Commons