I have been interested in the ways Ancient Greeks and Romans used humor to explore the potentials of the human experience. Humor encourages us to think about gaps in a world that we may think is perfectly whole. It allows us to find alternatives when discussions founder along the lines of beliefs that may seem ‘natural’ and ‘normal’. Through humor, we are encouraged to think outside our normal ways of doing things.
In the past, I led a study tour to Rome and the Bay of Naples. As I travelled with seven Butler students, I had the opportunity to open eyes as we explored the transition of Rome from a small collection of mud-huts in the Tiber Valley to the gleaming capital of a Mediterranean empire. My students also had the opportunity to see how the modern residents of Rome continue to live in the shadow of their ancient past.