Is it necessarily irreligious to poke fun of religion? What might be the utility of such humor?
Professor David Morgan led a group of engaged Duke students in considering these questions and more as he moderated the inaugural installment of a new discussion series, Exploring Self and Community in Dark Times.
The sessions are open to first- and second-year students who are interested in examining the global crisis of COVID-19 through a humanistic lens, and will cover a range of topics on alternating Mondays throughout this academic year.
“Though much of the discussion about COVID-19 has focused on health care and policy, these times also highlight the relevance of rigorous, critical humanistic thinking,” noted the faculty members who created the series, which includes Religious Studies Chair Mark Goodacre.
“The pandemic has cast a pall over life that humor is able to penetrate with a welcome light. I am very interested in the power of humor—how and why does it work? We explored this in the session—the psychological and the social dynamics of deliverance from despair, which is a natural juncture for religion and humor to work together.”
All sessions are hosted on Zoom and attendance is capped at 16 participants.