A history of humour: why and how?

Date(s) - Wednesday, May 31, 2017
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm


3 people are going

Seminar Room 3


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Interdisciplinary Discussion Group week 6
Dr. Kate Davison, “A history of humour: why and how?”


This talk will explore why and how historians have studied the humour of past societies. Humour has been considered a fundamental characteristic of humanity from antiquity to the present, but the things we see fit to laugh at, and how that laughter is thought about, tolerated or suppressed, have all varied with time, place and culture. The talk draws upon the life, works and social network of the London-based satirist and tavern-keeper Ned Ward (1666-1731). It will argue that it is only by grounding a study of comic material in the social and political contexts of its production and reception that the historical significance of humour can be fully appreciated.


Kate Davison is a social and cultural historian of seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain. She is a Lecturer in Early Modern History at Merton College, Oxford.


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