CFP: Gender, Literature & Humour, 1850-Present (UK) (1/12/07; 6/28/07-6/29/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Sophie Blanch
contact email: 

Call for papers

Joking Apart: Gender, Literature and Humour 1850-Present

28th-29th June, 2007
Hosted by the Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex, UK.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Prof Maria DiBattista (Princeton University, author of Fast-Talking Dames,
Prof Christopher Reed (Lake Forest College, author of Bloomsbury Rooms,

Following the publication of her novel in October 1928, Virginia Woolf
asked: "Why is Orlando difficult? It was a joke, I thought. Perhaps a bad
one." Woolf's question exposes many other concerns about the ways in which
humour both enlivens and problematises literary and gendered subjects. To
what extent is the idea of the "bad" joke an aesthetic, moral, or
specifically gendered judgement? What might it mean to theorise, analyse,
or historicise laughter from a gendered perspective? Can humour itself be
understood as a form of culturally encoded sexual difference?

This conference aims to explore the dangerous, difficult, provocative, and
potentially hysterical interactions between gender, literature and humour
from the mid-C19th to the present. While Humour Studies has fast been
emerging as a productive and energetic field of cultural and critical
enquiry in the United States, an equivalent network of scholars has still
to be identified within the UK. A central aim of this two-day conference,
therefore, is to provide a lively forum for academics, researchers and
graduate students to engage in an intellectual exchange of current projects
and ideas.

Papers are welcome on any aspect of gender, literature and humour in the
period, although possible topics might include:
· comedy and sexual difference
· humour and morality in the Victorian novel
· satire and sexuality
· the body as a site of humour
· queer comedies
· modernist mirth
· 'middlebrow' humour and the comedy of manners
· jokes and the unconscious
· feminist 'funny women'
· transatlantic comedy connections
· postmodernism and the literary joke

Proposals of 300 words for 15-20 minute papers should be sent via e-mail to
the conference organiser at, or by post to Dr Sophie
Blanch, Arts B275, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QN. The deadline
for proposals is 12th January 2007.

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Received on Sat Sep 09 2006 - 10:54:34 EDT