Submitted by Associate Professor of Communications David Kaszuba, Ph.D.
Many of Susquehanna's themes over the years have been “heavy,” which of course is expected at an institution of higher learning that prides itself on engaging students in serious topics that have environmental, technological, and civic impact. Yet, as a way of providing some balance, and showing that even supposed less-serious topics have gravitas, this year’s theme heads toward the “light.”
Humor intersects with many fields, from the obvious such as literature (e.g., James Thurber and David Sedaris), psychology (e.g., how humor elevates mood), and theater; to the less obvious, such as biology (e.g., the effect of laughter increasing pain tolerance), political science (e.g., how voters gain impressions of candidates based on late-night TV jokes), and diversity studies (e.g., analyzing effects of media on ethnic and gender-based stereotypes). Academically, we can also consider how silly commercials work (marketing/advertising); how different cultures define what is funny (anthropology/sociology); and how classroom jokes and lighter moments impact learning (education).
In sum, humor is a topic to which many disciplines draw connections, and it will be a great touchstone for student activities.