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October 2002

Release Date: October 3, 2002

ASU's American Values Symposium to Tickle Funny Bone

Angelo State University's 2002 Symposium on American Values Oct. 21-22 will examine America's funny bone as two scholars on humor take a serious look at what makes us laugh and what that laughter says about us as individuals and as a nation.

Dr. Regina Barreca, a scholar, humorist and author of the best-selling They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted, and Dr. Lawrence E. Mintz, a founding member and president of the International Society for Humor Studies, will explore the theme "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Laughter: Humor and American Values" during the two-day symposium.

Barreca will deliver the opening address on "Who's Laughing Now? The Importance of Humor in the 21st Century" at 1:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21. Her talk will examine the need for laugher in our lives. Mintz will speak at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, on "Humor and the Mediation of American Identity." His address will place American humor in a historical context and show how humor helps us even today come to grips with contemporary social issues.

Both presentations will be in the C.J. "Red" Davidson Conference Center of the Houston Harte University Center on the ASU campus. The talks are open free to the public.

The purpose of the University Symposium on American Values is to enrich the academic environment at Angelo State University by bringing outstanding scholars to the campus for a program of lectures and discussions to benefit students and to provide intellectual opportunities for the community.

Barreca has been called "smart and funny"y by People magazine and her They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted is now in its 19th printing. She is the author of five other books and the editor of The Signet Book of American Humor and The Penguin Book of Women's Humor. Her work is frequently featured in the national press, cited in such magazines as Time, Life, USA Today, Glamour, Self, Good Housekeeping and Ms. She has appeared as a media expert on 20/20, 48 Hours, The Today Show and Oprah.

As professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut, Barreca has received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University's Institute for Teaching. She is a consultant to business, medical, educational and philanthropic groups on the topic of humor in the workplace for health and survival.

Mintz is the editor of Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, and director of the Art Gliner Center for Humor Studies. His books include Humor in America: A Research Guide to Genres and Topics and a forthcoming anthology of American literary humor. His articles on humor have appeared in dozens of scholarly journals and studies.

Consultant to the Library of Congress on its American humor exhibition, Dr. Mintz teaches popular culture and American studies at the University of Maryland. Mintz is a frequent guest lecturer both in the United States and abroad. Showing broad interest in American studies, his areas of academic research include American humor, popular culture, American literature and American cultural history since World War II.

Since 1984, the Angelo State University Symposium on American Values has brought more than 50 nationally prominent scholars, academicians and policymakers to campus to discuss a wide range of themes. The two-day symposium is the central event in a broader program of related campus activities, including a class in American humor, a film festival, a video production on the symposium itself and a creative contest with cash awards for students.

For additional information on the symposium, please contact organizing committee chair Chris Ellery at 942-2273, ext. 228, or visit the symposium Web site at

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