Shawn Tucker

Associate Professor of Art
Elon West-406 W. Haggard Ave. 102C
2810 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-5741

Brief Biography

I went to high school in Sterling, Virginia.  I spent 2 years, from 1987-89, as a Mormon missionary in Santiago, Chile.  I attended Brigham Young University from 1990 to 1993, earning a BA in Humanities.  I attended Florida State University from 1993-1997, earning MA and PhD degrees in Humanities.  From 1997-2000 I taught Humanities, Art History, and Spanish at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  My wife Nicole and I married in 1991.  We have four children: Justine, Ashley Jane, Bryce, and Gavin


Ph.D. (Humanities) Florida State University, August 1997

  • Coursework in Art History, Contemporary Critical Theory, and Modern British Literature
  • Dissertation:  “Amédée Ozenfant’s Purist Paintings and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as Modernist and Avant-Garde Responses to World War One”
  • Director: Stan Gontarski; Advisors: Sally McRorie and Eugene J. Crook

M.A. (Humanities) Florida State University, April 1995

  • Coursework in Twentieth-Century Humanities, Modernism and Postmodernism, and Twentieth-Century Spanish Literature

B.A. (Humanities) Brigham Young University, 1993

Coursework in Humanities, American and British Literature, and Art History

Courses Taught

Present (Selected Classes)

  • GST 387 Pride, Humility, and the Good Life An interdisciplinary examination of the nature of pride and humility and how they may contribute to “the good life,” drawing insights from literature, art, film, and music in combination with concepts from philosophers, social scientists, psychologists, scientists, and religious thinkers. 
  • Fine Arts 171 Laughter in the Fine Arts From Aristophanes to Family Guy, laughter has been an integral part of the arts from the earliest works to the present.  This course introduces the fine arts, including literature, music, film, and the visual and performing arts, with an examination of how the arts use approaches like parody, satire, slapstick, and dark humor to express, entertain, instruct, and subvert. 
  • GST 347 Aspects of Laughter An interdisciplinary examination of a range of ideas for why we laugh and what laughter means.  Students examine the philosophical, psychological, sociological, ethical, and other aspects of laughter. 

2000 to present  (Selected Classes)

  • ECF 111 Paths of Inquiry
  • FINE ARTS 312 The Seven Virtues and the Seven Vices in the Arts
  • FINE ARTS 371 Love in the Fine Arts
  • FINE ARTS 372  Arts of Latin America
  • FINE ARTS 211  Introduction to Fine Arts
  • FINE ARTS 263 Fine Arts Studies in Italy
  • FINE ARTS 311 Critical Theory and the Arts 

Current Projects

I am currently working on a book that uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the nature of humility and pride. I am also working on a small project using the ideas of Sigmund Freud and Brene Brown to examine Zombieland. Finally, I have an ongoing interest in Biblical soteriological metaphors.  

Grants Awarded

  • Enduring Questions Grant to develop a course dealing with “Pride, Humility, and the Good Life” from the National Endowment for the Humanities, March 2010-March 2012
  • Elon Teacher-Learner Partnership May 2008-May 2009 This grant supported scholarship of teaching and learning combining Elon University faculty and local public school educators.


Peer-Reviewed Scholarship: Publications (Since 2001)         

  • “The Dynamics of Dissociation: Radiohead’s ‘How To Disappear Completely’ And Jasper Johns’ Device Paintings.” Soundings 96:1 2013: 85-98.
  • “On Mormon Laughter.” BYU Studies 51:4 (Fall) 2012. 141-154.
  • “Home and Adventure: Mormon Contributions to the Virtues and Vices Tradition.” Dialogue—A Journal of Mormon Thought 45:1 (Spring) 2012. 1-25
  • “Contrasting Utopias: Toward a Theoretical Framework for Modernism, the Avant-Garde, and Postmodernism.” Interdisciplinary Humanities 27:2 (Fall) 2010.  60-78.
  • “Shawn R. Tucker on Anxiety in The Waste Land.”  Bloom’s Guides The Waste Land. (Book Chapter).  Bloom’s Literary Criticism: New York, 2007. 89-93.
  • “Passing Around—Running the Offense—Generating the Offense: Improving All Levels of Humanities Instruction.” Interdisciplinary Humanities 23:1 (Spring) 2006.  88-97. 
  • “Titian’s Trinity, Gloria, or Last Judgment.Interdisciplinary Humanities 18.1-2 (Spring and Fall) 2001.  125-135.
  • The Waste Land, Liminoid Phenomena, and the Confluence of Dada.” Mosaic Vol. 34 No.3 September 2001, 91-109.


Select Presentations at Scholarly Conferences (Since 2009)

  • “Humor’s Humble Persuasion.”  International Congress of Humanities and Social Science Research, Paris, France, July 2012
  • “Death of a Branch Manager: Willy Lowman, Michael Scott, and the Tragicomedy of Narcissism.” Conference of the Humanities Education and Research Association, Salt Lake City, UT, March 2012
  • “Content and Teaching Tools for an Interdisciplinary Humanities Course on Pride, Humility, and the Good Life.” 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI2011) Madrid, Spain, November 2011. (Paper published in the conference proceedings.)
  • “On Mormon Laughter.” Conference of the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, Orem, March 2011
  • “NEH Seminar on Pride, Humility, and the Good Life: Update.” Conference of the Humanities Education and Research Association, San Francisco, March 2011
  • “The Dynamics of Dissociation: Radiohead’s “How to Disappear Completely” and Jasper Johns’ Device Paintings.”  Conference of the Humanities Education and Research Association, El Paso, March 2010
  • “Home and Adventure: Mormon Contributions to the Virtues and Vices Tradition.” Mormon Scholars in the Humanities Conference, Park City Utah, May 2009
  • “The Benefits of Laughter in Coping with Cognitive Conflict in First Year College Students.”  Conference of the Humanities Education and Research Association, Chicago, April 2009