Conference Announcement: Humour and Obscenity

Call for Papers

Humour and Obscenity in the Medieval and Early Modern World
MEMSA Conference, Durham University, 9-10 July 2018

Humour and obscenity cross disciplinary boundaries, incorporating historical, archaeological, literary, musical, theological, philosophical, and art historical perspectives on the medieval and early modern world. This interdisciplinary conference invites postgraduates and early career researchers from any discipline to present research on any aspect of humour and obscenity in the medieval and early modern world. Building on the new academic interest in the history of emotions, this conference provides a forum in which to develop interdisciplinary research on the cultural and societal place of humour and obscenity.

Themes and topics for discussion could include, but are not limited to:

  • The archaeology of obscenity and excess; archaeology and scatology
  • Obscene or comic dress
  • Representations of nudity
  • Comic or obscene objects
  • The humorous and/or obscene body
  • Marginalia in manuscripts and printed books
  • Humour in historical and legal documents
  • Scandal, libel, insults, and feuds
  • Humour and obscenity as a literary or rhetorical device
  • Representing sexualities
  • Humiliation and scorn
  • The politics and ethics of humour
  • Dissent and heresy
  • Censorship and punishment
  • Theoretical views of humour and obscenity
  • Curating medieval and early modern humour and obscenity
  • Humorous representations of the medieval and early modern world today

As well as panel sessions, the conference will include two keynote lectures, from Dr Daron Burrows (French, Oxford) and Dr Daniel Derrin (English, Durham). In addition, we are delighted to be hosting a performance of ‘Unruly Women’ by Dr Daisy Black (Wolverhampton). There will also be an opportunity to visit Durham Cathedral and Castle, and a conference dinner will be held on 9th July.

Papers should be 15-20 minutes long, and will be followed by time for questions and discussion. Please send abstracts of 200-300 words to the conference organisers at  Abstracts should be submitted by Monday 16th April 2018. Please let us know if you have any accessibility needs or other requirements.

For a pdf version of the CFP, click here:


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