Spring Luncheon - March14, 2012

Don Nilsen

Alleen Nilsen displays funny material

See our Photo Gallery for one more picture

This year, the annual ASU Retirees’ Spring luncheon was held on March 14, 2011, at the Karsten Golf Club.  Over 40 members and guests shared an informal buffet lunch, and enjoyed a presentation by our speakers for the day, Professors Alleen and Don Nilsen, whose topic was “Humor Theory: Features, Functions, and Subjects.”  

Don Nilsen  gave us an overview of various aspects of humor, such as linguistic humor, language play, irony, paradox, and many others.  In addition, the Nilsens shared their experiences in Afghanistan, where Don had a grant through USAID to work with local school systems, and talked about  humor there.

Alleen discussed how men and women are treated differently in Afghan society.  She shared  some colloquialisms with us, for example, “a wise old man and an ugly old crone.“ This led to some discussion about gender issues in our own society, as well.  Alleen surprised us with some door prizes; some beaded necklaces in various colors that she had made.  She also gave us a handout describing her talk. We were reminded that humor is important as we grow older, and that we need to laugh at ourselves, once in a while.

The Nilsens  are currently co-chairs of ASU’s Emeritus College Humanities Faculty, and are co-founders of the International Society for Humor Studies. They are the authors of many books on humor, young adult literature, and English studies.

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Pat Nay