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Humour, Seriously

Humour, Seriously

Humour and the cluster of phenomena with which it is affiliated (comedy, irony, absurdity, jokes, laughter) have been recognized since antiquity as essential for art, philosophy, and general human experience. Despite this, accounts of humour are often idiosyncratic and fail to live up to their totalizing pretensions. The linguistic “General Theory of Verbal Humour,” for example, may well work as an explanation of jokes, yet its application to fuller humorous texts remains questionable. Tellingly, Dmitri Nikulin’s recent philosophical account of comedy in Comedy, Seriously (2014) chooses to exclude discussion of the humorous entirely. By bringing together the methods and knowledge of different fields, this group will seek to engage, challenge, and if possible reconfigure this web of theories, at the same time as pooling and rethinking our own disciplinary assumptions.

This working group will probe the boundaries between the theory and practice of humour by inviting a series of comic practitioners—such as cartoonists, comedians, and clowns—to provide a unique practical perspective to a number of our discussions.

Leads
Jeanne Mathieu-Lessard, Ph.D. candidate, Comparative Literature
Matthew Risling, Ph.D. candidate, English
Matthew Cohn, Postdoctoral fellow, UTSC Historical & Cultural Studies
Peter Jones, Postdoctoral fellow, UTM Historical Studies

Faculty at the University of Toronto
Veronika Ambros, UTSG Comparative Literature and UTSG Slavic Languages & Literatures
James Cahill, UTSG Cinema Studies and UTSG French
Louis Kaplan, UTM Visual Studies
Nicholas Sammond, UTSG Cinema Studies and UTSG English
Luca Somigli, UTSG Italian Studies

Faculty outside the University of Toronto
Maggie Hennefeld, Cinema Studies, University of Minnesota

Graduate Students at the University of Toronto
Adwoa Atta Opoku-Agyemang, Comparative Literature
Maureen Coyle, Physical Cultural Studies, Dept. of Exercise Science
Eliza Futerman, Centre for Comparative Literature
Youcef Soufi, Study of Religion
Kasia Peric, Department of French
Erica Petrov, Political Science

Graduate Students outside the University of Toronto
J. Coplen Rose, English, Wilfrid Laurier University


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