Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Last Laughs: Exploring Cultural Diversity Through Women's Humor

Dr. Judy Sneller.

Although most of us would agree that it is more crucial than ever for educators to focus on a variety of cultural questions and conflicts, we would probably also agree that discussing "difference" in our classrooms is not always easy. In fact, sometimes its downright risky and more than a little scary. For all our formal training as teachers, we suddenly feel inadequate to help students grapple with the many meanings of "difference" in the world around them or to appreciate the richness it offers. We fear the loss of classroom congeniality which may result from broaching discussions about diversity of race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and/or sexual orientation. Plus we are frustrated because we would like to try to create Mary Louise Pratt's notion of the classroom as a "contact zone," a space "where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other," but we don't know how (34). Although humor may initially seem an unlikely pedagogical tool, a closer examination reveals that the incorporation of humor in the classroom--and more specifically, women's humor--not only provides a gateway into the "contact zone" of cultural diversity but also provides a valuable critical tool once inside the door.


Dr. Judy Sneller  (United States)
Professor of English
Humanities Department
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Dr. Judy Sneller is a Professor of English at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, SD, USA. After receiving a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL) in 1985, she earned a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies/American Studies from Emory University (Atlanta, GA) in 1992. Her research and publishing activities are focused on American literary humor and 19th century American literature. Dr. Sneller teaches courses in humanities, first year composition, technical communications, and American literature.

  • Women's Humor in the Classroom
  • Women's Humor as Pedagogical Tool
  • Cultural Diversity and Women's Humor

(Virtual Presentation, English)