Jesters, Jokes, and Laughter: The Politics of Humour in the 20th Century

Mar 16, 2006 - Mar 18, 2006

Conference at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto | Conveners: Martina Kessel (University of Bielefeld), Patrick Merziger (Free University Berlin), Dirk Schumann (GHI)



Thursday, March 16, 2006

5:00 - 6:00 pm: Keynote
Peter Jelavich (Johns Hopkins University): When Are Jewish Jokes No Longer Funny?

6.00 - 8.00 pm: Reception

I. Funny texts: Meanings of Humour in Society.

Friday, March 17, 2006

9:00 - 10:45 am -- Subversive Humour?
Commentator: Dirk Schumann (German Historical Institute)

Kaspar Maase (Universität Tübingen) The use of humour commodities in Germany during the Great War: Historical and anthropological questions.

Kathleen Stokker (Luther College, Decorah, Iowa) Humour and Resistance in Norway during the Second World War.

Peter Keller (Universität Zürich) Constructions of Resistance: The Zurich cabaret Cornichon 1933-1945 and its reception after 1945.

Coffee break 10:45-11:15

11:15 am - 1:00 pm -- Popular laughter: Laughing to order one's world.
Commentator: Modris Eksteins, University of Toronto

Jan Rüger (Birkbeck College, London) 'Berliner Schnauze': Humour and laughter in Berlin, 1914-1918.

Pierre Purseigle (Oxford University) Music-hall and all: Humorist discourses and practices in Britain and France during the First World War.

Patrick Merziger (Freie Universität, Berlin) The comical during National Socialism. An harmonious world?

Lunch: 01:00 - 02:00 pm


2:00 - 4:00 pm -- Ethnicity, Nationality, Gender: Communities of laughter
Commentator: TBA

Giselinde Kuipers (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Ethnic jokes and the position of ethnic minorities in the Netherlands.

Christie Davies (University of Reading) Who owns ethnic jokes, those in the joke or those 'outside' who tell them?: European and North American jokes about Scots, Jews, Poles and Newfoundlanders.

Eileen Gillooly (Columbia University, New York) Smile of discontent: Humour and Gender in 20th century British literature.

Dinner at 7:00 pm

Saturday, March 18, 2006

09:00 - 11:00 am -- Media: Shaping the laughing public.
Commentator: TBA

Mark Winokur (University of Colorado, Boulder) American laughter: Immigrants, Ethnicity, and 1930s Hollywood Film Comedy.

Monika Pater (University of Hamburg) Cheerful people: "Volksgemeinschaft" in front of the radio, 1933-1945.

Vincent Brook (California State University, Los Angeles) Laughing to Keep from Dying. Jewish Self-Hatred and The Larry Sanders Show.

Helga Kotthoff (PH Freiburg) "Overdoing culture" in ethnocomedies on German TV.

Coffee break 11:00-11:30

11:30 - 12:30 am -- Concluding comments, general discussion.