Cinema Journal In Focus Section on "Comedy and Humor"

deadline for submissions: 
July 31, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Maggie Hennefeld, Annie Berke, Michael Rennett
contact email: 

CFP: Cinema Journal In Focus Section on "Comedy and Humor"

We used to say that comedy is opposed to tragedy, but now comedy sprawls out everywhere. In an era when breaking news headlines read like Onion articles, social activism is fueled by pithy memes, and satirists are often better equipped to explain current events than scholars or journalists, it is crucial to re-conceptualize the genre qualities, psychological dynamics, and social politics of media comedy. How do we define comedy? How do we theorize it? How do we delimit its proper boundaries as a genre? How do we account for its profound influence on governmental politics, social movements, and viral media culture? Are our traditional definitions, categories, theoretical tools, and analytic approaches still adequate for understanding the current state of comedy/humor and the stakes of comedy/humor studies as an academic field?   This "In Focus" section will offer an overview of recent and ongoing media scholarship about comedy and humor. 
 Possible topics for essays include: --Intersectional social and identitarian politics and the power politics of comedy and humor  --Comedy and pedagogy: teaching comedy + using humor in the classroom --Historical and archival studies of comedy genres in film & media --Critical theories/philosophies of comedy and humor-- methodologies and approaches --How comedy is articulated in relation to the medium (film, TV, radio, internet, podcast, comics, animation, etc.), and comedy as a motor of intermedial circulation --Comedy and its relation to politics-- "fake news," absurdism/irony/parody as modes of truth telling, and the growing consensus that satirists are better equipped to explain current events than traditional journalists --Avant-garde or experimental modes of humor --Comedy about difficult topics issues-- such as war/genocide, state violence, mass shootings, terrorism, climate change, the Holocaust, anti-PC jokes: Is anything off limits for humorous representation and mockery?  --Geopolitics and the linguistic difficulties of translating comedy or adapting its regional/cultural specificities --Comedy/humor studies and interdisciplinarity-- how this topic cuts across different fields of the humanities and social sciences **Article will range from 2,500 - 3,000 words (depending on the number of contributors). Co-written essays are welcome and encouraged. We would like to make this section as collaborative and broadly participatory as possible.  **Please send approx 300 word abstracts + brief bio by July 31st, 2017-- to the guest editors, Maggie Hennefeld (, Annie Berke (, and Mike Rennett (