Project Humanities kicks off fall event with humor - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Project Humanities kicks off fall event with humor

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Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013 7:45 am

During the fall semester at Arizona State University, the facilities at the four campuses will be hosting the Project Humanities discussion and film screening with its theme being, “Humor… Seriously.”

This will be the third year Project Humanities has created these types of events, with each year focusing on different themes.

The basis of Project Humanities is trying to break down the notion of the disconnection from the university involvement in the community by hosting these types of events at each campus.

The week-long long kick-off series begins on Sept. 16 covering different areas in the field of humanities, while sprinkling some humor on to it.

Ahwatukee resident Neal Lester, creator and director of Project Humanities, said the kick-off week is a biannual event they have every fall and spring semester choosing a particular theme.

Lester’s main goal through Project Humanities was to look at humanities outside of the classroom in other disciplines.

The focus on the kick-off will be humor in multiple areas of professions, with 18 different events focusing on humor in science, humor in fiction, humor in business, humor in race and gender, etc.

Throughout the fall semester there will be various activities appealing to humor in certain fields of humanities.

“The idea is that we bring people together around the theme or the idea that wouldn’t ordinarily come together,” Lester said. “We have a range of activities going on, so it’s not just lectures. We have scholars coming in discussing human therapy, and writing workshops teaching how to write humor.”

When speaking about the upcoming kick-off week, Lester’s excited about the event taking place on the four campuses at ASU and the integration of the ASU community, along with the community surrounding the campuses.

“What makes this interesting is that humor becomes one of those vehicles that can potentially connect people, but we will also be looking into the ways it disconnects people,” Lester said. “The idea is trying to provide different activities to bring people together on what we are reflecting beyond where they laugh and leave.”

The idea of the event will be looking at humor beyond comedy on the subject matter that will be presented.

What’s exciting about the Project Humanities “Humor… Seriously” is they received confirmation that Bill Nye, who will host his own discussion on Nov. 25 along with some of his protégés.

He will be conducting a short set about the humor in science, and the notion of humanities in science through humor.

Nye is most famous from his show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” that integrates relevant science topics adding a sense of humor to the content matter.

Lester is interested in making sure that throughout the kick-off series and the semester that humanities doesn’t have to be something that is relegated in the classroom, and it infuses all that we do.

“Humanities is really about the connection we have with people,” Lester said. “The idea of this is to permeate the environment in this sort of densely populated series of activities.”

For more information about the Project Humanities “Humor… Seriously” series, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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