This is a History elective, which is also cross listed with the English department.
What made the Chinese laugh? Was laughter in Rome misogynistic? How did love and sexuality negotiate caste and class in India? Why was the love life of Cleopatra a matter of much disquiet? This course explores such issues in order to understand how we might write a history of love and laughter. Humour in the Homeric epics is examined along with the role of laughter in Buddhist literature. Love – from the erotic to the affectionate – is analyzed through imagery and ideas in the Greco-Roman world, in ancient India, in Egypt and in East Asia. Through a comparative study, the course, at a general level, underlines the importance of emotions in the study of history and, in particular, historicizes the many meanings of love and laughter across antiquity.