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Humoring Democracy: or Why I Read the Nazis for Laughs
Start Date: 3/17/2017Start Time: 3:00 PM
End Date: 3/17/2017End Time: 4:00 PM

Event Description
Sammy Basu, Professor of Politics, will speak about his recent research.

Modernity is hard on us, whence reactions to it abound. However, humor can make it bearable and even pleasurable. In my research I illustrate the argument that modern liberal democracy needs its citizens to have an appropriate sense of humor using the historical record of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi Third Reich culminating with World War II and the Holocaust. I highlight Weimar-era pro-democratic defenders and their cognitive and communicative turns to liberal and leveling humor, and contrast them against Hitler, Goebbels, Rosenberg etc., and their Nazi honor-bound and hierarchic sense of humor. In effect, on this view, the democratic Republic failed because of an irony deficiency and conversely the authoritarian Reich flourished because it contrived to provide German gentiles with the ‘last laugh’. In closing, I will apply this analysis to the contemporary US political situation.
Location Information:
*WU Campus - Ford Hall
Room: 122 -- Film Studies Aud.
Contact Information:
Name: Doreen Simonsen
Phone: 503 375-5343
Email: dsimonse@willamette.edu
Sammy Basu
Admission / Ticket Info:
Free Admission
Event Sponsor(s):
Faculty Colloquium
Other Details:
Students are welcome

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