Humor and Satire in Contemporary Europe

humor and satireHumor and Satire in Contemporary Europe - Cultural, Political and Cognitive Perspectives, Summer School in Groningen 14-21 July
Coordinator: Dr. Alberto Godioli


What is the role of humor in our everyday lives? Is satire only a tool for scapegoating and stereotyping, or can it lead us to a fuller understanding of complex realities? Questions such as these have become more and more prominent in recent years, within and outside Europe – suffice it to mention the controversies related to Charlie Hebdo’s use of dark humor (before and after the 2015 terrorist attack), as well as the massive role played by memes, cartoons and caricatures in both populist and anti-populist discourse (from the last US elections to Brexit).

Not by chance, stand-up comedians feature as protagonists in several works by major contemporary authors, such as Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island, Jonathan Coe’s Number 11, or David Grossman’s A Horse Walks into a Bar. More generally, the social function of humor and comedy (whether overtly political or not) has been the subject of increasing attention in the media, generating a debate whose impact extends far beyond academia.

This interdisciplinary summer school will focus on the various forms taken by humour in contemporary European societies; we will discuss a broad range of sources, from literature and stand-up comedy to memes and cartoons. You will have a chance to attend and take active part in seminars held by leading international scholars from a variety of fields, including cognitive studies, social sciences, literature, film and media studies; each session will focus on a specific topic, such as humor and empathy, satire and religion, populist and anti-populist irony, dark humor and its boundaries, freedom of speech vs hate speech, and several others. Building on such a unique combination of different methodologies and disciplinary perspectives, this summer school will appeal to students and early career researchers with an interest in the multiple theories and practices of humor; it will also welcome applicants without any previous training in the subject, who are interested in exploring humor and satire as a way to better understand the conflicts and tensions underlying contemporary Europe.

The summer school is open to advanced BA, (Research) Masters, and PhD students; it will also feature a workshop, where ReMA and PhD students will have an opportunity to present their research and receive feedback from the instructors.

Dates 14 - 21 July 2018
Location Groningen, the Netherlands
Course level Advanced BA/(Re)MA/PHD
Coordinator Dr. Alberto Godioli, Faculty of Arts