Event Details

Learning Forum: The Power of Women's Humor

March 8, 2020  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Learning Forums are thought-provoking presentations, followed by a discussion about the topic. Learning Forums in March are themed for Women in History Month. 

This week, Dr. Judy Sneller presents, "The Power of Women's Humor." 

Join us to explore the vital role of women’s humor as expressed by beloved American funny woman Erma Bombeck’s declaration that “when humor goes, there goes civilization.” 

Although humor may seem an unlikely topic to “study” or “take seriously,” think about how important it is in our culture. For one thing, it’s everywhere - from TV sitcoms at home to comic strips in your morning paper to the latest funny movie in your local theater to standup comedians on stage.

Something so prominent in a society must have some kind of significance! It must be “doing” something!

This presentation focuses not just on humor’s general role in our society, but on women’s humor in particular. Long ignored or trivialized, women’s humor has actually been a force in American society since the beginnings of our country in the works of women like Anne Bradstreet in colonial America, Marietta Holley in the 19th century, Lucille Ball in the 20th century, and Tina Fey today, to name just a few.

As this presentation will show, the role of women’s humor goes way beyond just entertaining us but is a powerful tool to critique social values and norms, expose incongruity in the world around us (the “ideal” vs. the actual), provide acceptable outlets for aggression, create social bonds, and even allow for a whole range of aesthetic and philosophical expression.

Dr. Judy Sneller earned a bachelor's degree in humanities, with a minor in English, from the University of Central Florida in 1985, and a doctorate in American Studies from Emory University in 1992. Her American Studies degree is concentrated in American Cultural Studies (art, English, sociology, history). Her dissertation was focused on the literary humor of three Post-Civil War New Orleans women and how it interacted with changing race and gender norms in the United States.

Sneller joined the faculty of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1992, where she taught a variety of English and humanities classes until she retired as Professor Emerita in May 2018. 

During her 26 years as a college professor, she published a dozen articles on topics related to the role of humor in American culture, teaching with technology, and gender in the classroom. She also presented scholarly papers on these topics at 19 conferences around the country. While at SDSM&T, she was honored to receive both the Bernard Ennenga Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Outstanding Professor Award.

While living in Rapid City, she has served on a number of state and local organizations, including as president and board member of the Rapid City Arts Council; as board member of the Allied Arts Council, the South Dakota Humanities Council, and Leadership Rapid City; and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rapid City Library.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, half-off for members. Call 605-394-6923 to reserve tickets.

Learning Forums in March are themed for Women in History Month. For more Learning Forums, click here.

You can sit anywhere you like in our theater! The seating map is below. Seats marked ADA indicate wheelchair accessibility. Blue seats indicate space for foldout chairs, but those with ADA requirements take first priority.

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The Journey Museum & Learning Center regularly adds new events, exhibits, and features to the expansive museum, covering American history, Black Hills history, and Native American culture.

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The Journey Museum is currently in Winter Hours:

Winter Hours

(October 1st – April 30th)
10 AM – 5 PM Monday through Saturday
1 PM – 5 PM Sundays

Summer Hours

(May 1st – September 30th)
9 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday
11 AM – 5 PM Sundays


All individual admissions are good for two days with receipt.

Museum General Admission:

Adults (ages 18+) $10
Seniors (ages 62+) $8
Students (ages 6 – 17) $7
Children 5 & under FREE with family

Groups (10+ people):

$7 per person

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.

Education Groups (12+ students):

$3 per student (all students 18 and under)
$5 College Students

Chaperones are requested. Special pricing will be extended to adult chaperones.

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.