Confirmed speakers: Vic Gatrell (Essex), Mary Beard (Cambridge), Jan Ruger (Birkbeck), Rosalind Crone (Open University).
Convenors: Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge), Clare Pettitt (King’s College, London) and Mike French (University of Glasgow)
All interested in the study of humour and laughter of any historical period are invited to attend or submit papers for this discussion-led workshop, to be held in Newnham College, Cambridge, which will be organised around a number of overarching questions:
Should historians distinguish between humour (a cultural form) and laughter (an emotional response)? How do the two inter-relate?
Can the historiography on the emotions deal adequately with laughter?
Is humour subversive, consoling, or neither?
To what extent are humour and laughter gendered phenomena?
Can we see emotions as more than simply the epiphenomena of historical change? Are they causal factors for change in themselves?
Workshop participants will be encouraged to pay particular attention to the question of reception. While humorous texts abound, it is not always clear what readers or audiences found funny. This workshop aims to set the socio-emotional experience of laughter alongside the analysis of humour. We will juxtapose the work of a number of scholars who have looked at laughter and humour in contrasting historical periods and geographical region, in order to gain insight into the theoretical schemes and chronologies which can make sense of humour, laughter, and the emotions.
Papers for the workshop would be pre-circulated, to encourage a more interactive and discussion-led style of event.
Abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 January 2009 for those interested in participating. Papers of no more than 8,000 words would be pre-circulated at the end of February.
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