“LAUGHING MATTERS?: HUMOR IN AMERICAN THEATRE AND DRAMA”
5th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AMERICAN THEATRE AND DRAMA
Málaga, Spain. May 25-27, 2016
Humor in its various forms, as well as the effort to contain it, has been present from the very first traces of a theatrical tradition in America, which opens with an attempt to perform a farce being promptly suppressed by the authorities. Entertainment has always been a key function of American theatre, and humor has been among the most recurrent mechanisms when it came to getting an audience to laugh heartily and send it home in a hopeful, light mood, sure of its values and world-view, and conveniently “humored.” Music, vaudeville routines, slapstick, and countless other manifestations of so-called lowbrow theatrical culture (whether mistakenly or not) were often thought to pose no threat whatsoever to the status quo and the deep-seated convictions of audiences. However, the repeated struggle to repress and control even supposedly innocent forms of entertainment suggests that, in spite of appearances, humor and comedy have been seen as no laughing matters, and have been used in potentially subversive ways to mirror, satirize and criticize the manners and foibles of society in the U.S.
The 5th International Conference on American Theatre and Drama, a collaborative venture between three Spanish universities (Málaga, Cádiz, Seville) and the ATDS, is the continuation of a series of conferences which have brought together hundreds of American drama and theatre scholars from all over the world, and will be held in Málaga in 2016.
CONFERENCE “MASS CULTURE: AN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE”
December 6-13, 2002, Moscow
Supported by Grant No. S-RS500-03-GR-005
The conference took place at the Moscow State University, Department of Journalism. Over 120 participants from 86 Universities of 35 cities took part in the section and plenary meetings during the week. Young and distinguished scholars came from various parts of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus to present their papers and discuss problems dealing with Mass Culture of the USA and its influence upon the existing trends in World culture. Two participants arrived from the USA, though three more people (two from the USA and one from Italy) were not able to come due to a sudden change in a process of visa issuing.
In 2002 the grant gave the researchers from such distant cities as Chita and Kemerovo an opportunity to be present at the meetings in person.
70 papers were presented at the meetings of 7 sections:
2. The Nineteenth Century – to the Twenty First: Portent Problems.
3. Contemporary Prose and Culture.
4. American Drama.
5. Ethnic Literatures in the USA.
6. Women Studies.
7. Interaction of the American and World Culture.
For the sixth time there was a traditional Round Table Discussion:
“Imprints: Image of America and Image of Russia” (coordinator Prof. Yassen Zassoursky) and for the first time there was a new one organized – “Fantastic in the Arts” (coordinator Ph. D Larisa Mihaylova) which was met with vivid interest and attracted 25 participants.
All the participants got the Program and the collection of Conference Materials with Abstracts and short variants of 62 papers printed in Russian and English.
This year there was a calamity – a fire at the printing office where we gave our materials to publish. It happened on the 29th of November, 2002, and we had only several days left before the beginning of the conference left. It entailed spending some extra resources to make the preprint copy again and urgently print the materials but the book was still produced in time and everybody was provided with it.
Some extra time went to mailing the reimbursements for the tickets which we received from the participants only by the end of March, 2003.
CONFERENCE “LITERATURE AND THE ARTS”
December 5-12, 2003, Moscow
Supported by Grant No. № S-RS500-04-GR-012
The conference took place at the Moscow State University, Department of Journalism.
Over 120 participants from 35 cities took part in section and plenary meetings during the week, with 89 papers delivered by people from 35 cities and 51 universities (a list of cities and Universities represented is attached).
Young and distinguished scholars came from various parts of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus to present their papers and discuss problems of interaction between Literature and the Arts in the USA and concerning interaction of American culture and World culture. Five American scholars took active part in discussions. Among them Professor Irwin Weil, who came to our conference for a twentieth (!) time, Professor Ronald Bosco who was a co-chair for Thoreau discussion, and a Fulbright lecturer Alan Lelchuk.
In 2003 the grant gave the researchers from such distant cities as Chita and Kemerovo an opportunity to be present at the meetings in person, but not all travel expenses have been reimbursed due to lack of funds (in order to pay at least a portion we had to reduce payments to 12 persons and still lacked the money to pay Olga Ushakova from Tymen altogether).
The Program was more varied this year, with the special stress on interaction of various media in 7 sections:
1. Multimedia Journalism.
2. The Nineteenth Century – to the Twenty First.
3. Contemporary Prose and Contemporary Culture.
4. American Drama.
5. Ethnic Literatures in the USA and Multiculturalism.
6. Women in American Culture.
7. Interaction of the American and World Culture.
But besides traditional sections this time there has been four Round table discussions: For the seventh time there was a traditional Round Table Discussion: “Imprints: Image of America and Image of Russia” (coordinator Prof. Yassen Zassoursky), for the second time – “Fantastic in the Arts” (coordinator Ph.D Larisa Mihaylova) which was considered important enough to announce for the next year too. Two new discussions also attracted a considerable attendance – “Author as Teacher: Democratic Experience. Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne” (coordinated by Prof. Tatyana Venediktova and Prof. Ronald Bosco) and “Border/Hybrid Consciousness” (ccordinated by Prof. Tamara Denisova)
All the participants got the Program and the collection of Conference Materials with Abstracts and short variants of 43 papers printed in Russian and English. This year more people managed to prepare short articles and not just the abstracts, which helped to make the publication of the conference a more substantial resource for scholars in the field.
The collection of this year together with collections of three previous years has been donated to the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
As the previous year, some extra time went to mailing the reimbursements for the tickets which we received from the participants only by the end of March, 2004.
The XLth International conference of the Russian Society of American Culture Studies will be held December 5-12, 2014 at Lomonosov Moscow State University Journalism Department.
Its theme – “American Culture: From Making a Nation to Transnationalism”.
American Culture of the 18-19th Centuries
Fantastic in the Arts
Besides a traditional Round Table discussion: Imprints – Image of America and Image of Russia will be held.
Suggestions for additional sections and panel discussions are welcome with 300 words description and at least two other panelists’ names suggested until September 1st, 2014.
Official languages of the conference are English and Russian. All participants will understand papers given in English and will provide an English resume of their talk, if given in Russian.
Deadline for the paper abstracts – September 10, 2014 (half a page). Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
On the basis of delivered and discussed papers an annual bilingual collection is published.
Conference fee $ 100 US, payable upon arrival, includes also an excursion to Kremlin and farewell party.
Information about visa support is on the RSACS site. As it is a lengthy process – please send the needed materials [copy of two first pages of passport and info on place of birth (city and country), affiliation and position, office address, phone and fax numbers, place of visa application, dates of arrival and departure] to the address email@example.com no later than September 15, 2014.