Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference
University of California, Berkeley, March 8-10, 2013
Updated Deadline for Abstracts: January 20, 2013

Keynote Speaker: Anca Parvulescu (Washington University in St. Louis)

Laughter occurs at the threshold of what language means, what language does and what lies beyond language's grasp. This conference invites research that interrogates laughter in German literature and film, from jest and ridicule in courtly culture to reports of Kafka's macabre laughter to Werner Herzog's chuckle. We welcome proposals that not only focus on humor as genre, but also explore the affective dimensions of reading, watching and participating in the comical. Can we understand laughter within the parameters of language and representation, or is laughter the moment when language becomes other to itself? How has laughter become a symptom of cynicism and ironic detachment? How might laughter become a body's critical intervention?  

For the conference, we encourage papers on literature from all time periods, film and philosophy, history and art history, linguistics and sociology, and related disciplines.

The conference will be held at the University of California, Berkeley on March 8-10, 2013. Please submit a 300-word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by January 20, 2013 to [log in to unmask]

Possible paper topics include but are not limited to laughter's relation to the following: 

-Affect theory
-Parody and performativity
-Semiotics and protosemiotics 
-Theater and catharsis
-Theories of incongruity and superiority 
-Cynical reason vs. kynicism
-The sacred and profane
-Satire and poetry
-Self-referentiality and Web 2.0
-The Culture Industry, 'Infotainment'
-Comedy and politics
-German-language comedy

Conference organizers: Jacob Johnson, Alexander Lambrow, Seth Elliott Meyer
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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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