Discourses of Humour

Registration deadline
Call for papers ending on

Miercurea Ciuc/Csíkszereda

Humour, wit and laughter surround us everywhere. According to the French philosopher Henri Bergson, the fundamental source of comic is the presence of inflexibility and rigidness in life (see Laughter. An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic).

As a multi-disciplinary field of research, humour has been studied from various perspectives, in many domains of science such as psychology, philosophy, literature, linguistics, and sociology. Several theories of humour have emerged, including the relief theory, which focuses on physiological release of tension; the incongruity theory, singling out violations of a rationally learned pattern; and the superiority theory, involving a sense of victory or triumph, where humour arises from mischances, infirmities and indecencies. Psychological research has revealed that there are two types of humour: adaptive (facilitative and self-enhancing) vs. maladaptive (self-defeating and aggressive). Humour also involves the concept of game, in the sense that in superiority theory there is always a winner (the joking person) and a loser (the butt of the joke).

Today, we experience humour in many forms: in the offline world, in literature, press, television, but also in the online world. Our conference aims to create a forum to debate reflections, dilemmas, case studies, evaluative surveys and new paths in connection with all these issues. We encourage interdisciplinary approaches to humour, ranging across literary, linguistic and cultural studies.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Literature and literary genres involving humour
  • Humour and narrative
  • Crosscultural humour
  • Humour in the media
  • Psycho and sociolinguistic approaches to humour
  • Visual humour
  • Humour in educational settings
  • Humour in performance (theatre, cinema, standup comedy, etc.)
  • Translation of humour
  • Gender and humour
  • Stereotyping through humour
  • Humour in time
  • Humour as a form of resistance
  • Humour in folklore
  • Humour online

Keywords: humour, wit, irony, laughter, joke, games, gamification, parody, satire, comedy.  

The conference will embrace parallel sessions. Each paper will be allotted 15-20 minutes for the presentation, followed by discussions. The programme will also include a virtual panel.

 Keynote speakers: Delia Chiaro, University of Bologna, Italy (via Skype or Zoom) and Attila László Nemesi, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary.

The Intercultural Confluences Research Centre
Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Economics, Socio-Human Sciences and Engineering, Miercurea Ciuc
Contact person
Zsuzsanna Ajtony
Contact person email address