2011 CLIFF: Fun & Games, March 24-26, 2011

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University of Michigan Comparative Literature Intra-Student Faculty Forum
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15th annual Comparative Literature Intra-Student Faculty Forum (CLIFF)
March 24-26 2011
University of Michigan- Ann Arbor

Fun & Games

Keynote speaker:

Glenda Carpio
Professor of English & African and African American Studies
Harvard University
author of Laughing Fit to Kill: Black Humor in the Fictions of Slavery

From childhood play to the Olympic games, "fun and games" have a large role in cultures around the world. Yet, until recently, they have garnered little scholarly attention. In the past decade or so, a variety of disciplines have begun to pay closer attention to the cultural importance of sports, amusement parks, and other instances of fun and games in the public sphere. In the humanities, scholars have begun to theorize (the) play and humor in (of) literature and the arts. New Media Studies has triggered some new directions in these conversations. This conference aims to be a forum for exploring interdisciplinary instances of and reflections on humor, laughter, play, and diversion. Some of the questions we are interested in exploring include: What do different cultures and languages consider to be fun? How do fun and games function in the public sphere? in education? How are spaces of diversion/leisure designed (theme parks, sports arenas, playrooms, etc.)? How does humor function across different languages, time periods, and cultures? How do we understand the rhetoric of humor--in literature? in pop culture? in new media? What is the role of joking and laughter in advertising? How do games and diversion affect or interact with the environment? What is the role of satire/black humor in contemporary cultures? What are the social and political roles and implications of laughter and games? What do fun and games tell us about childhood and adulthood? How have games and play furthered knowledge production? Could there be an anthropology of fun?

These are intentionally broad-ranging questions; we welcome work that addresses any part of them or related concerns. We hope to receive proposals from a wide variety of disciplines, and strongly encourage submissions from non-literary fields. We also welcome presentations of new work from architects, game designers, engineers, etc.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for 15-minute paper presentations due:

DECEMBER 15th 2010

All submissions and questions should be addressed to: CLIFF.umich@gmail.com