Laura Kasson Fiss

Laura Fiss


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  • Associate Teaching Professor, Pavlis Honors College
  • Affiliated Associate Teaching Professor, Humanities
  • Assistant Director, Pavlis Honors Program
  • PhD in English, Indiana University
  • MA in Text and Book, University of Birmingham (UK)
  • AB in English and Music, Vassar College


Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss has an interdisciplinary background in music, literary studies and history of the book. She currently pursues research in both nineteenth-century media and current higher education. One question ties together these strands of research: How can we make exclusive spaces more inclusive? 

Victorian Humor

Asking not only "why is this funny" but also "what do you need to know to get this joke," Fiss provides a window into Victorian media consumption - she even studies the window as a metaphor for the page. Her articles address Victorian humor from Charles Dickens to Lewis Carroll and beyond.  Her first book, The Idler's Club: Humour and Mass Readership from Jerome K. Jerome to P.G. Wodehouse, explores the club as a metaphor for literary sociability in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century British humor.

Victorian comic song is the focus of Fiss’s second book project, which picks up on her undergraduate research and first publication on Gilbert and Sullivan. This project looks at three generations of men named George Grossmith and through them the role of the comic man on stage, in the drawing room, and in print.

Higher Education

In several collaborative groups, Fiss studies curriculum design and student success. Much of her work centers on the Pavlis Honors College and its project to re-define honors in terms of self-authorship. She also studies communication and reflection in engineering education.


Dr. Fiss is lead instructor for Pavlis Seminar II, “Tell Your Story,” and teaches a variety of writing, literature, and other humanities courses for the Department of Humanities, where she is on the graduate faculty.


  • Victorian literature
  • Gender studies
  • History of the book
  • Children’s literature
  • Music and performance history 
  • Humor
  • Emotion/affect studies
  • Qualitative educational research
  • Curriculum Development