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Sammy Basu

Professor of History and Public Health

Headshot of Sammy Basu

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Eaton Hall 405
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301


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.


HIST 131W: Demanding Democracy

HIST 240: Ancient to Early-Medieval European Intellectual Thought

HIST 241: Late-Medieval to Renaissance European Intellectual Thought 

HIST 242:  Early-Modern to Modern European Intellectual Thought 

HIST 305W:  Late-Modern European Intellectual Thought

HIST 388W: Democracy and Nazism

PHEAL 101: Introduction to Public Health

PHEAL 301: Public Health Ethics

PHEAL 499W: Senior Seminar in Public Health

PPLE 318: Death in America


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.

Willamette University

History Department

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6061 voice
503-370-6944 fax