CFP: Ethics and Aesthetics of Stand-Up Comedy

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Stand-Up Comedy
A Conference at Bucknell University
April 19-22, 2017

Submission Deadline: December 20, 2016

This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners interested in stand-up comedy from a range of academic disciplines, including but not limited to philosophy, performance studies, women’s and gender studies, African-American studies, theatre, art history, and culture studies.  In addition to academic papers, comments, and discussion, the conference also includes workshops, an open mic night, roundtable discussion with comedians, and stand-up comedy performances. #BUStandUpComCon.

Luvell Anderson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis
Noël Carroll, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center
Eva Dadlez, Professor of Philosophy, University of Central Oklahoma
Oliver Double, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Arts, University of Kent
Tanya Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Sacramento State University
Aaron Smuts, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rhode Island College
Cynthia Willett, Professor of Philosophy, Emory University
Jason Zinoman, Comedy Critic for The New York Times

Oliver Double, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Arts, University of Kent
Amy Seham, Professor of Theatre and Dance and Women’s and Gender Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College

Gary Hardcastle, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bloomsburg University

​We invite submissions for paper presentations and offers to serve as commentator or chair.  Submissions are welcome on any topic in the aesthetics and ethics of stand-up comedy, broadly construed.

POSSIBLE TOPICS INCLUDE (but are by no means limited to):

Aesthetic Issues: theories of humor, satire, irony, style, theories of emotion and affect, self-conscious emotions (shame, embarrassment, guilt, pride), the state of the art, relations with other arts (e.g., poetry, spoken word, pantomime, music, improv), analyses of joke structure, boundaries of taste, appropriation and originality, case studies, cross-cultural comparisons, historical reflections on the art form, public persona and comic identity.

Ethical/Sociopolitical Issues: political stand-up comedy, ethnic comedy, subversive comedy, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, bigotry, feminism, anti-racism, censorship, law, political correctness, nationalism, stereotypes and tropes, political efficacy and limitations, the politics of representation, the ethics of heckling, hostility, aspects of identity in stand-up comedy, such as race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexuality, ability, age, and/or class, performance and appreciation, social movements/activism.

SUBMISSIONS AND OFFERS TO PARTICPATE:  Please send either a 3000-word full paper draft or a 1000-word extended abstract outlining the central argument, suitable for anonymous review, as an attachment to:  Include in the main text of the email: the paper title, contact information, and current affiliation (if any). Please bear in mind that the papers should be suitable for a twenty-minute presentation. Submissions will be evaluated on the strength of their central arguments and their relevance to the conference themes.  The submission deadline is December 20, 2016. We aim to make decisions within 6 weeks.

ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSIVITY: We are adopting the BPA/SWIP-recommended good practices. We aim to host an inclusive conference and we will do our best, within our budgetary constraints, to accommodate all participants..  We are committed to lowering the barrier of participation for disabled participants and will do our best to make the conference fully accessible and welcoming.  To this end we will anticipate needs and aim to make accommodations in response to all requests. Upon acceptance of proposals, participants will be invited to identify any needs in this regard. Childcare will be made available as needed.  In the meantime, please feel free to email with any questions or suggestions.

GRADUATE STUDENTS AND UNDERWAGED ACADEMICS: We will provide travel assistance, within our budgetary constraints, for student and unwaged academics.  Upon acceptance of proposals, participants will be invited to identify any needs in this regard. In the meantime, please feel free email us to with any questions or suggestions.

ORGANIZERS: Sheila Lintott (Bucknell University); Jason Leddington (Bucknell University); Meenakshi Poonuswami (Bucknell University); Alex Skitolsky (Goddard College); Nikki Young, (Bucknell University); James Haile, (Bucknell University); Aaron Meskin (University of Leeds); Steven Gimbel, (Gettysburg College).

SPONSORED BY: Bucknell University and the American Society for Aesthetics.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed at this conference do not necessarily represent those of Bucknell University or the American Society for Aesthetics.