Illinois Medieval Association 

Serving Illinois Medievalists since 1983

Humor, Laughter, Identity, and Reactions to Trauma

  • 26 Feb 2022
  • 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Online

Registration is closed

A sizable body of literature examines humor as a way to cope with trauma and/or negative life events. These studies often recognize the idea of a sense of humor as an issue of personal identity and link that character trait to coping with stress and/or trauma. The papers of this session examine three different aspects of humor and trauma/identity as they relate to the late Middle Ages. Paper 1 examines the relationship of laughter to trauma in The Canterbury Tales. Paper 2 shifts our focus to the Mughal court in Asia and the functions of humor and identity in that court. Paper 3 examines the humor in BL MS Harley 913—particularly The Land of Cokaygne—as coping strategies for the trauma brought about by frequent poor harvests and the Great Famine of 1315-1317. Together, the papers provide insight into the uses of humor, representations of laughter, and their relationship to trauma and identity across the globe.

English Department, Millikin University, 1184 W. Main St., Decatur, IL, 62522

Phone: 217-362-6465


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