Archive for calls, January 2016

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[ecrea] CFA Comedy and Critical Thought (Kent, 3-4 May 2016)

Thu Jan 28 10:26:28 GMT 2016

The Centre for Critical Thought, the Centre for Comic and Popular
Performance and the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent
are glad to invite 250-word abstracts for



a two-day interdisciplinary conference scheduled on *Tuesday 3 and
Wednesday 4 May 2016* at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

This interdisciplinary conference invites delegates to reflect on the
possible role of comedy as critique. Critique, which finds its
expression in both theory and practice, has a long and turbulent
history. Yet the issue of what it means to be critical and voice
alternatives to the political and economic /status/ /quo /now seems to
be more important than ever. Several sites of resistance have recently
developed in globalised society. It should come as no surprise that
alongside Occupy, Anonymous and worldwide student protests, laughter is
also part of the global emancipatory cry for alternatives. Throughout
history, comedians and clowns have enjoyed a certain freedom to speak
frankly often denied to others in hegemonic systems. Think only of /King
Lear/’s ‘all-licensed Fool’ or Bakhtin’s conception of the
carnivalesque. More recently, professional comedians like Jon Stewart
and Stephen Colbert have developed platforms of comic license from which
to critique the traditional political establishment and have managed to
play an important role in interrogating and mediating the processes of
politics in contemporary society. However, as it always has been in the
past, these comic truth-speakers face the problem of co-option: are
these comic voices genuinely effective in their critique or do they
function as a mere safety valve tolerated to vent off dangerous steam?
In this respect, comedy is not always necessarily critical but can also
reinforce the /status quo /and function as a conservative tool or even
as an exclusionary mechanism in the service of hierarchical power

Whether recognised as a safe release for social tensions, a conservative
reassertion of the dominant order through cruel laughter, or as a form
of critical expression which may trouble and destabilise the /status
quo/, comedy’s force warrants closer investigation. We invite scholars
from various disciplines to reflect on these and other issues related to
comedy and critique in twenty-minute papers. Suggested topics and areas
of investigation include but are not limited to

  * Does comedy have an inherent critical potential?
  * Does comedy have measurable critical effect in society?
  * Does comedy as critique require specific legal frameworks?
  * Does the critical use of comedy vary across the arts?
  * Does the critical potential of comedy vary across the ages?
  * Does the critical expression of comedy vary across cultures?
  * Does comedy have specific links to critical theory and critical
    academic practice?

Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor Alan Finlayson (University of
East Anglia), Professor James Williams (Deakin University) and Dr Robert
Porter (Ulster University). Delegates are also cordially invited to
attend the annual Linda Smith Lecture on the evening of Tuesday 3 May,
which will this year be delivered by British comedian Andy Hamilton.
This conference further ties into the exhibition ‘There is an
alternative! A selection of critical comics and cartoons’ which will run
free of charge from 2 May to 1 July 2016 at the university’s Templeman
Library. Projected conference fee is £15 to cover catering on both days
(with concessions available for postgraduates).

Please submit proposals of 250-words abstracts for 20-minute papers to
(criticalcomedykent /at/ by Monday 15 February 2016.  If you have
any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We look forward to receiving your proposals.

The conference organisers,

Dr Iain Mackenzie, Dr Krista Bonello-Rutter-Giappone, Dr Oliver Double,
Dieter Declercq and Fred Francis

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