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Gender and Humour: Reinventing the Genres of Laughter

Call for submissions: Gender and Humour: Reinventing the Genres of Laughter

Publication Date: 2010-03-31

Call for Papers
Gender and Humour: Reinventing the Genres of Laughter

Guest editors Prof. Dr. Annette Keck (German Department, University of Munich) and Prof. Dr. Ralph J. Poole (English Department, University of Salzburg)

For a special issue of gender forum, submissions addressing questions of gender and humour are invited.

What happens when women laugh outright, seemingly out of control, making a pectacle of themselves? Ever since Freud claimed that it is woman being laughed at and man doing the laughing, laughter has entered contested gendered territory. What, indeed, happens when Medusa returns the male gaze and laughs as Hйlиne Cixous famously suggested making fun of the Freudian theory of woman's notorious lack?

And why is it that whenever women (dare to) laugh, this laughter is considered breaking limits, rules and taboos? Does that mean, on the other hand, that male laughter necessarily remains within established boundaries of proper conduct and expected behaviour? What then happens when men become the objects rather than subjects of laughter, being ridiculed by women's humour? And above all we may ask whether humour is necessarily gendered, thus invariably reinforcing gender boundaries that otherwise have long been contested and overturned? The editors of this special issue of gender forum wish to take up Laura Mulvey's notion of "genres of laughter" as forms of narrative and performance originally associated with the carnivalesque and to extend its range of meanings and possibilities across genders and genres. We claim that women – though often forgotten or neglected – have indeed excelled as comediennes in theatrical and filmic comedies, in satirical prose and poetry, in music and art, as characters, writers, performers, and painters. Theoretically inspired and historically grounded essays looking into the silenced history of such 'funny women' are especially welcome. But we also invite contributions considering humorous approaches across the gender divide like camp, drag, masquerade and slapstick. Of interest therefore are inquiries on how narratives and performances employ strategies of humour to question the gendered social subject. Possible other areas of investigation include, but are not restricted to essays on

· the power of female humour to challenge the symbolic authority of patriarchy

· relocating time-bound genres like the screwball comedy within the contemporary context of media productions (e.g. romantic comedy, sitcom)

· theories of laughter both in the fields of popular and high culture

· the reluctance of feminist theory to engage in humour and comedy

· the history of female laughter and/or gender comedy

· the relationship between gender, humour and the grotesque

· laughter as marker of liminality · the dialectics of productive/destructive laughter

· the interconnectedness of gender in genres of laughter with categories like class, ethnicity, age, religion, or sexuality.

Submission of 1 to 2-page proposals: March 2010

Submission of finished papers: June 2010

Direct submissions to: annette.keck@germanistik.uni-muenchen.de and

Prof. Dr. Ralph J. Poole
University of Salzburg
Department of English and American Studies
Akademiestr. 24
5020 Salzburg
Tel: ++43 (0)662 8044 4403
Fax: ++43 (0)662 8044 167

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