Breaking English: Humor, Parody and Satire in Anglophone Literature of the African Diaspora (ACLA, 3/31- 4/3/2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Anthony Reed and Theo Hummer
contact email: 
anthony.reed@yale.edu or th242@cornell.edu

This seminar seeks papers that consider the formal uses of humor, parody and satire as a project of “speaking” or “finding one’s voice” within and against the constrictions of a colonizing language. We are especially interested in the use of various forms of humor or wit, especially in formally innovative, "experimental" works, which require a mastery of the language even as one makes it strange. Given the vexed histories of joking and the instable line between having fun and being made fun of, we are especially interested in exploring the political questions motivated by breakdowns in or challenges to conventional literary representation. Through these works, often marginalized as "minor," we hope to generate a discussion of the relationship between literature and politics that moves from literary to the political, rather than from the political to the literary to interrogate the questions literature motivates. We will consider papers on non-Anglophone literatures of the African diaspora.

The ACLA has a unique conference format, with seminars of twelve people meeting for two hours each day over the course three days, generating a more substantive and collaborative set of conversations than most other conferences allow for. The meeting this year is in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 3/31-4/3/2010.

General information about the conference may be found at the following site: http://www.acla.org/acla2011/
Information about this seminar may be found here: http://www.acla.org/acla2011/?p=431
The submission deadline is 11/1, and you must submit through the ACLA's website; we cannot take your submissions directly.

Possible topics to include:

- The political function(s) of joking in literature or film
- Recurrent figures of formal disruption within a text
- The effects of the undecidable
- Laughter and embodiment
- Conceptualizations of humor and reading
- Moments of narrative or thematic non-closure
- Joking in a multi-lingual, international milieu
- Punning and doublespeak
- The dangers and pitfalls of humor as political strategy
- Black comedy
- Joking as a form of disavowable critique
- Humor and the obscene
- The commodification or economic deployment of comedy/entertainment
- Humor as a way of articulating the inarticulable
- The humorous breakdown of articulation
- The uses and abuses of dialect/slang

cfp categories: 
african-american
international_conferences
postcolonial