The Drama and Performance Forum and the Sound Studies Forum of the Modern Language Association (MLA) announce a co-sponsored session entitled “The Sounds of Humor” to be held at the MLA Convention in San Francisco, CA from January 5-8, 2023. What does humor sound like? Sounds tend to play an important role in performances intended or perceived as humorous—tone of voice, bodily noises, contrived sound effects, and the laughter (or silence) of either the audience or performers are often just as or even more significant than the semantic value of words, gestures, and other modes of communication. For this co-sponsored panel we invite proposals that critically reflect on the category of humor as it is constructed in relation to sounds. Of particular interest are papers that address the sonic politics of humor—for instance, the sound of laughter in relation to punching up, punching down, being laughed at/or with, and the power dynamics related to race, gender, sexuality, disability, etc. Given the interpretive challenges that both sound and humor present, papers might also ask how we can approach the sounds of humor historically and across cultures, particularly in periods prior to the advent of phonography. Please send 200-word abstracts to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15.
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