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46th Annual Comparative Literature Conference

pompeii mask comedy

“The Comic Spirit in the Modern Age”

April 13-14, 2011

California State University, Long Beach

Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.

-Herman Hesse

The history of the evolution of comic forms is variegated and complex. Yet, it is a history that continues to inform the various manifestations and applications of humor within contemporary social discourses. Whether it is delivered in the form of stand-up, on the screen, or in the genre of theater, prose or poetry, the conventions by which modern day comedic practice is established are the result of the re-finement, re-negotiation and re-configuration of traditions harking back to Classical, Renaissance and even early 20th century sensibilities.

The Comic Spirit in the Modern Age” seeks to examine the relationship between present-day conventions of humor and comedy, and the preceding traditions by which they were inspired.

Among the questions to be explored are:

** How does humor and/or comedy function within political, social, and economic forces?

** What is the cultural work that comedy performs?

** How do we theorize the study and practice of comedy?

** What is laughter? What is a joke?

** How is the comic represented in literature, art and film?

** What are the peculiarities and specifics of comedy audiences?

** What does it mean to be funny?

We invite proposals for papers that deal with the power and role of humor and its relationship to literature and other disciplines and methodologies. Participant from different fields — literary theory and philosophy, film studies, theater, culture studies, visual and media studies, digital media and electronic arts, sociology, psychology, and cognitive science — are invited to submit an abstract.

Given the topic of this conference, participants may propose a performance piece (stand up, slam poetry, brief monologues, etc.). Papers and performances should be no more than 20 minutes in length.

To propose a PAPER, please send an electronic abstract of no more than 250 words along with a brief attached c.v. no later February 9th, 2011, to Gretchen Dinger (gdinger@csulb.edu). Please put in the subject line of the email: “Comic Spirit Conference Abstract.”

To propose a PERFORMANCE PIECE, please send an electronic abstract of no more than 250 words along with a brief attached c.v. and/or work sample (in digital format) no later than February 9th, 2011, to Gretchen Dinger (gdinger@csulb.edu). Please put in the subject line of the email: “Comic Spirit Conference Abstract.”