Humor in Arts and pedagogy

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Institute of Applied Studies in the Humanities of Mahdia, university of Monastir, Tunisia in partnership with “l’Association de la Creation Culturelle”
contact email: 



The Republic of Tunisia

The Higher Institute of Applied Studies in the Humanities of Mahdia, University of Monastir in partnership with “l’Association de la Creation Culturelle” organize an international conference on



Humor in Arts and Pedagogy


April 16-17,  2020


 In recent years,  the amount of research on the interdisciplinarity of humor has proliferated, but despite the plethora of theories, concepts, and assumptions that surround the scope of humor we are stuck at the crossroads of intermeshing satellite concepts.  This includes the ludicrous, the quaint, the droll, the jocular,  the farcical. We have wit, irony, satire, sarcasm, fancy, mockery, joke, quirk, pun, clowning, glee, the burlesque. Walter Nash (1985) draws attention to a mishmash of concepts that denote a single word, humor. Around the concept of humor, there gravitate  a wide variety of concepts including wit and wordplay, language play, laughter, banter, slogans and catchwords, allusion and parody, ironies, satires, graffiti and limericks, twisted puns and scrambled spellings and skewed pronunciations.


Humor occurs in everyday social situations in any culture to achieve various functions. Humor in its multifaceted structures and disguised forms serves functions that range from the social, the subjective, to the communicative, to the fictitious and the imaginative covering every aspect of everyday reality, aspects of reality that are suppressed, tabooed and silenced. As Isabella  Ermida (20080  states, “It can charm or attack, be created spontaneously or be used as a well-prepared technique of personal and professional interaction; it can be a simple joke told among friends or amount to the sophistication of Shakespeare’s play”. For laughter to happen, Henri Bergson (1921) argues that the individual has to release himself from emotions, claiming that “indifference is the natural environment” of laughter and that laughter “has no greater foe than emotions […] step back from life, look upon life as a disinterested spectator: many a drama will turn into a comedy” . Carnival laughter transgresses boundaries and leaks into what is often held to be official and high, serious and traumatic,  solemn and sacred, fearful and painful.


This conference proposes two nexuses of research. Under the rubric of humor and art (including literature and visual arts in its various forms such as  painting, film) the first nexus  investigates the functions of the  interplay of the humorous and the serious in areas that are held to be too serious to host jocularity. Our aim is to investigate the humorous representation of traumatic experiences in trauma narratives, prison narratives, illness narratives, and dystopia narratives across a variety of literary genres and artistic forms. Themes and issues for discussion may include, but not restricted to:


-          The archeology of the interplay of the humorous and the serious from ancient times to the new millennium

-          The archeology of carnival laughter in literature and other art forms

-          The archeology of dark humor

-          Humoring death

-          Humoring illness

-          Humoring prison

-          Humor and the cultural memory of war

-          humoring politics 

 -         humor as resistance 

The second nexus, humor and pedagogy, explores the depth, richness, and complexity of humor as a pedagogical tool in learning. Pedagogy, as Fraser et al. (1993) put it, is the science that studies education as an aspect of reality, that is, teaching and learning and all its related aspects. The discussion in the conference will be placed on humor, language, and pedagogy in learning situations, looking at the role of humor in the classroom. This leads us to raise the following questions: What are the implications of the use of humor and its satellite concepts in teaching and learning? We welcome proposals dealing with, but not restricted to, the following topics:

-          Use of Humor to teach rigorous content subjects

-          Humor in language teaching and learning

-          Humor in teaching literature

-          Humor in EFL classrooms: we particularly welcome proposals on the use of language play in TEYL

Submission details

We welcome proposals of 300 words (maximum) with a title and at least 5 key words for 20-minute presentations in English. Please, submit your proposals and a biographical statement to the advisory board through : or  . Deadline submission is December 15, 2020. All submitted proposals will be peer-reviewed. Once the proposal is accepted, you will be notified by December 30, 2020.


Conference fees

Registration : 150 EUR  for participants from outside Tunisia and 150 TND for Tunisian  participants

Registration includes: conference participation, refreshments,  3 nights full-board accommodation in a hotel in Mahdia  for participants from outside Tunisia and 1 night for Tunisian participants, shuttle from and to airport  for participants visiting Tunisia/ publication of accepted articles.