Sammy Basu

Professor of History, Humanities, and American Ethnic Studies


PhD, Princeton University

MA, Princeton University

MA, University of Calgary

BA, University of Calgary


Research interests are broadly in the historical and applied humanities with special attention presently to democratic theory, humor, and the Nazis.


History of Western Political Philosophy POLI 212

Modern and Contemporary Political Theory POLI 305W

Death in America POLI 318

Democracy and Nazism POLI 388W

Senior Thesis POLI 480


Lea Caragata, ‘Civil Society and the Vibrancy of Canadian Citizens,’ Canadian Studies in a New Millennium. (Eds.) Mark Kasoff & Patrick James. Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 304-345.

“But what’s the use? They don’t wear breeches!’: Montaigne and the pedagogy of amusing difference,’ Educational Philosophy and Theory, iFirst Article, 1-13

“He laughs loudly’: Hitler, Nazism, and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,’ in History (1933-1948): What We Choose to Remember. (Eds.) Margaret Monahan Hogan and Jams M. Lies. Portland: University of Portland, pp.357-385.

“To try things themselves’: Freedom of Expression in a Democratic Multicultural Polity.’ in Campus Conversations: The Role of Freedom of Expression in a Multicultural and Democratic Society. (Ed.) Jenny Jopp. Salem, OR: Willamette University, pp.22-58.

“A little discourse pro & con’: Levelling laughter and its Puritan criticism,” International Review of Social History. 52. Supplement S15, pp.95-113. 

‘Letting the Hydra Roam: Attending to Diverse Forms of Diversity in Liberal Arts Education,’ Ch. 2 in Teaching Inclusively. (Ed.) Mathew Ouellett. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press, pp.21-33.

Linda Heuser. ‘Using Service-Learning in Death Education.’ Death Studies, 27, 10, pp.901-927.

“We are in strange hands, and things are come to a strange passe’: Argument and Rhetoric Against Heresy in Thomas Edwards's Gangraena [1646],’ in Histories of Heresy in Early Modern Europe: For, Against, and Beyond Persecution and Toleration. (Ed.) John Christian Laursen. New York: Palgrave, pp.11-32.

“Woe unto you that laugh now!’: Humor and Toleration in Overton and Shaftesbury,’ in Religious Toleration: 'The Variety of Rites' from Cyrus to Defoe. (Ed.) John Christian Laursen. New York: St. Martin's Press, pp.147-172.

‘Dialogic Ethics and the Virtue of Humor.’ Journal of Political Philosophy, 7, 4, pp.378-403.

“In a Crazy Time the Crazy Come Out Well': Machiavelli and the Cosmology of His Day.’ History of Political Thought, 11, 2, pp.213-39.