English R1B

Reading & Composition: Laughter and Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
23 Spring 2012 Huerta, Javier
TTh 2-3:30 51 Evans

Book List

Diaz, Tony: The Aztec Love God


In this course we will be taking laughter seriously. “No animal laughs, except man,” Aristotle declares. We will study the different theories that attempt to explain why we laugh. I must warn you, student, that it is not the purpose of this class to make you laugh. As you know (or if you do not already know, you will learn it in class), nothing kills a laugh quicker than to explain a joke. I intend not only to explain all jokes but also to show you the origin of all laughter. If we are successful in our analyses, the proper and logical outcome will be not only that you will not laugh in class but that you will never laugh again. So prepare to focus on the analysis of laughter and the laughter of analysis.


As the second half of the University’s “Reading and Composition” requirement, English R1B is a writing-intensive introduction to critical reading, interpretive thinking, and scholarly research. Building from a series of short reading responses, two formal essays, and a continuous process of peer editing and revision, your main task in this course will the be the completion of a 10-page research project.  This project will ask you to explore primary sources as well as secondary accounts in order to offer a new critical and historical perspective on the many ways we experience the surprises of laughter.

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