Research Theme: Laughter
Alice holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Cambridge, and a master’s degree in music in development from SOAS. She began working with Batek hunting and gathering people in Malaysia in 2014, when she began her PhD at UCL. Her work with Batek people has focused on the relationship between sound, aesthetics and moral beliefs, using an interdisciplinary approach that draws on anthropology, ethnomusicology and linguistics. Since completing her PhD, she has been the recipient of a Coleridge Research Fellowship from the British Library, which enabled her to begin research on the musical practices of hunter-gatherer peoples across cultures.
Whilst at the IAS, Alice will looking specifically at the relationship between laughter, taboo and moral beliefs among the Batek - particularly with respect to hierarchy and power in an egalitarian context. She will ask why ways of laughing become attached to moral values, and how the complex dynamics set up by laughter might be related to the dynamics of negotiating and maintaining egalitarianism. She hopes that this research will shed light on the mechanisms by which laughter can disrupt authority across cultures.