CFP Special journal issue on Comedy and Catastrophe (Deadline November 30, 2013)
CFP Deadline: 30 November, 2013
Submissions are invited for a special issue of S: "Comedy and Catastrophe." Possible topics include comedy and politics, comedy and resistance, comedy and economics, comedy and the global financial crisis, comedy and the new Europe, comedy and literature, comedy and war. We invite scholarly papers from a Lacanian perspective or from a perspective of neighbouring fields.
We live in a time of nearly-ceaseless crises and catastrophes. Whether it is the financial crisis of 2007-2008 in the US, which became a sovereign debt crisis around the globe; or the natural catastrophes across the globe, at least one of which became the nuclear crisis of Fukushima; or the amorphous war on terror announced by the events of 11 September 2001, which led to the failed campaigns of Afghanistan and Iraq; or the now-seemingly permanent refugee crises facing countries everywhere; or the periodic pandemics that grip the world; or again the now-uncannily-certain sense of approaching global ecological collapse—scarcely a week passes wherein the webpages and televisual screens of the global media are not filled with dire headlines, alerts, and joyless commentators presaging doom. None of these things, it might be thought, is a laughing matter.
Yet comedy in the West was born in a time of catastrophe, and has been often wedded to it historically since. Aristophanes' ribald old comedy to its shape and setting in an Athens beset by annual Spartan invasions, ravaged by plague, and weakened by a war which the comedian, and several of his heroes, make clear they see no real point to at all.
Psychoanalysis, for its part — a profession born from the mouths of the living malaises of its analysands — has always also been closely concerned with all things comedic. Freud's 1906 Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious already associates the unusual working of the Witz (puns, double entendres, etc.) with the formations of the unconscious. Sometimes "to mother" is "to smother," as Woody Allen has long prestidigitated upon, like a veritable comedic Hamlet: humour, comedy, and "plays upon words" are a benign way that the truth of the unconscious will out. Lacan in his crucial Seminar V, The Formations of the Unconscious, thus devotes a good deal of time to examining Freud's Joke book, the phenomenon of laughter and the working of Witz, before turning to observations on Aristophanes and Genet, and comedy as a literary genre.
Please send submissions/inquiries to Gregor Moder (gregor.moder [at] gmail.com), Matthew Sharpe (matthew.sharpe [at] deakin.edu.au), Sigi Jottkandt (sjottkandt [at] gmail.com