Is it OK to laugh?

28 June, 2022

This year an article by Religious Matters’ member Pooyan Tamimi Arab was published in Comparative Studies in Society and History. “Can Muslims Drink? Rumi Vodka, Persianate Ideals, and the Anthropology of Islam” was Tamimi Arab’s contribution to the Religious Matters project’s focus on food and texts in pluralist settings.

Since humor played an important role in this research, CSSH’s Andrew Shryock asked Tamimi Arab and Kostis Kalantzis and Rihan Yeh, two other anthropologists who wrote about jokes and joking under difficult circumstances, to read each other’s works and to reflect on what humor is doing for them. Why write about awkward or downright rude jokes at all? Is anthropology the science of the sense of humor, as Malinowski believed? Or is the joke on CSSH and its authors?

Find out at:


Socrates Dry Gin. Wijnbar de Filosoof. Photograph by Pooyan Tamimi Arab, 2021, The Hague.