UPDATE: [Cultural-Historical] DEADLINE EXTENDED: The Comic in Caribbean Literatures (NeMLA 2009, Boston, Feb. 26-March 1)

full name / name of organization: 
Nicole Simek
contact email: 


40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Feb. 26-March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts
Call for papers: Laughter’s Reason: The Comic in Caribbean Literatures

Guadeloupean novelist Maryse Condé once identified laughter as an essential
component of successful critique, describing irony “as a kind of ruse that
allows the reader to laugh at himself or a situation that he could not
otherwise accept.” This type of humorous irony “tak[es] the reader beyond
himself, forcing him to critique himself,” which, she continues, “is
perhaps the most important function of literature” (interview with
Marie-Agnès Sourieau, /French Review/ 72, 6 [1999], 1097; my translation).
At the same time, Condé has commented in interviews that readers often fail
to get her jokes, raising questions about both the reception of humor and
the function of authorial claims about texts’ comic intent. Taking such
questions as a starting point, this seminar seeks to bring together
scholars of various Caribbean literatures to explore the function of the
comic across these literary traditions. While not excluding a
consideration of parody or the carnivalesqueâ€"comic modes that have received
a fair amount of critical attention in the pastâ€"this seminar will focus
instead on humor as a mode of knowing or communicating knowledge, or what
Simon Critchley has termed a “for[m] of practical abstraction [or] socially
embedded philosophizing” (/On Humour/ 87). Participants may wish to
consider topics such as: humor as theory and theories of humor; humor and
opacity; irony and audience; humor and aesthetics; humor and narrative
theory; reception and authorial control; the comic and the body.

Please email abstracts of 250-500 words to Nicole Simek by September 30,
2008 at simeknj_at_whitman.edu .

Complete Call for Papers now available online:

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Received on Mon Sep 15 2008 - 17:28:01 EDT