7th International Symposium on Medieval and Early Modern Culture Program



Laughter in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age


University of Arizona, Tucson, Thursday, April 30-May 3, 2009
Organized by Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies

Location: Conference Room of Special Collections, University of Arizona Main Library

Registration: $70.  Students and other attendees in the audience: $15/day. (Members of UAMARRC free to attend during the day, but for each of the evening meals there is a charge of $20.)

THURSDAY, April 30, 2009, 7-9 p.m. RECEPTION (Hosted by UA), Riverpark Inn, 350 S. Freeway, next to Interstate 10, south of St. Mary’s Rd. (hospitality room, a suite, no. 134) – feel free to drop in and to stay as long as you like, but the room will be a suite where one of the participants is staying, so we should not impose ourselves for too long after 9 p.m. But Connie Scarborough can decide on the house policy herself. Thanks for hosting these events, Connie!

FRIDAY, May 1:

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: Each Speaker will have twenty minutes for the talk, and ten minutes for discussions, but not more than thirty minutes total.

8:30 a.m. Pick-up at the hotel. Please be in the lobby punctually.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION: 8:55 – 9:00 a.m. Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona):
Special Collections, Main Library

Chair: Albrecht Classen

9:00-9:30 a.m.:

Mark Burde (University of Michigan): The /Parodia Sacra/ Problem and Medieval Comic Studies


9:30-10:00 a.m.:

Livnat Holtzman (Bar-Ilan University, Israel): God’s Laughter and the Prophet’s Laughter: The Challenge of Islamic Traditionalism (9th-14th Centuries) 

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.:

Daniel F. Pigg (The University of Tennessee at Martin): Laughter in Beowulf: Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Group Identity Formation


10:30-10:45 a.m.: Coffee/Tea Break: Hosted by UA

10:45 – 11:15 a.m.:

Connie Scarborough (University of Cincinnati): Laughter and the Comedic in a Religious Text:  The Example of the

Cantigas de Santa Maria


11:15 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.:

Debra Stoudt (Virginia Tech): The Absence of Laughter and the Presence of Joy in Medieval Religious Communities


11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.:

Christine Bousquet-Labouérie (Université de Tours, France): Le Rire dans les stalles médiévales



12:15 -1:15 p.m. Lunch: Special Collections, UA Library:  Hosted by UA

New room: 1:15-3:15 p.m. ILC 150


Chair: Laura Hollengreen, School of Architecture, UA

1:15 – 1:45 p.m.:

Scott L. Taylor (Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ): Vox populi e voce professionis: Processus juris joco-serius, Esoteric Humor and the Incommensurability of Laughter


1:45 – 2:15 p.m.:

John Sewell (University of California at Davis): Hanged Between Thieves:  Humor, Irony, and Boundary Maintenance in Medieval Jewish Polemical Discussions of Jesus

2:15 – 2:45 p.m.:

Birgit Wiedl (Institut für jüdische Geschichte Österreichs, St. Pölten, Austria): Monsters in the Making – The Judensau


2:45 – 3:15 p.m.:

Lia Ross (University of New Mexico): You had to be there: the Elusive Humor of the sottie


Back to Conference Room, Special Collections

3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Coffee Break: Hosted by UA

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.:

Sarah Gordon (Utah State University, Logan): Laughing and Eating in the Fabliaux


4:00 – 4:30 p.m.:

Jean E. Jost (Bradley University, Peoria, IL): Humorous Transgression in the Non-Conformist Fabliaux Genre: A Bakhtinian Analysis


4:30 – 5:00 p.m.:

Feargal Ó Béarra (Galway, Ireland): A Context for Laughter and Audience in Early Modern Ireland



5:00-5:45 p.m.: Tour of the campus

5:45-7:00 p.m.: Dinner: Hosted by UA:
Student Memorial Union, Redington Cafe (3rd floor, SW corner)


Shuttle back to the hotel at 7:15 p.m.

Reception: Riverpark Inn, Hospitality Room 134: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Hosted by UA


8:25 a.m. Pick-up at the hotel (please be punctual)

9:00-9:30 a.m.:

Fabian Alfie (University of Arizona): “Yes… but was it funny?”: Cecco Angiolieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Medieval Comic Poetry


9:30-10:00 a.m.:

Jean Goodrich (University of Arizona): The Use of Laughter in The Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play


10:00-10:30 a.m.:

Rosa Alvarez Perez (Southern Utah University): The Workings of Desire: Panurge and the Dogs


 10:30-10:45 a.m. Coffee/Tea Break

10:45 – 11:15 a.m.:

Albrecht Classen (The University of Arizona): Sixteenth-Century Jest Narratives: Forgotten and Maligned Masterpieces of Reformation Age Literature: Montanus, Kirchhof, and Lindener. The Hidden World of Seemingly Pornographic Humor


 11:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m.:

Noël Schiller (University of South Florida, School of Art and Art History):  The World Feeds Many Fools (De Wereld voedt veel zotten): Laughing Subjects and the Performance Pictorial Transgression


11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.:

Diane Rudall (Department of Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago): Using the Entertaining Illusions and Allusions of La Devineresse to Convey the Horrendous Scandal of a Glorious Century


12:15 a.m. -1:15 p.m.: Lunch (Hosted by UA) – Special Collections, Library


1:15 – 1:45 p.m.:

Elizabeth Chesney Zegura (The University of Arizona): Laughing Out Loud in the Heptameron: A Reassessment of Marguerite de Navarre’s Ambivalent Humor

1:45 p.m. -2:15 p.m.:

Alan Drosdick (UC Berkeley): Is this supposed to be funny?: Comic Expectations in The Knight of the Burning Pestle

2:15 -2:45 p.m.:

Shawn Marie Keener (University of Chicago): Laughing at Ourselves: venezianità in Late Sixteenth-Century Venetian Songs


2:45-3:00 p.m.: Coffee/Tea Break


3:00-3:30 p.m.: 

Chair: Aileen Astorga Feng, Dept. of French and Italian, The University of Arizona


Gretchen Mieszkowski ( University of Houston-Clear Lake): Chaucerian Laughter



3:30 – 4:00 p.m.:

Thomas Willard (The University of Arizona): J. V. Andreae’s ludibrium: Menippean Satire in The Chemical Wedding


 4:00-4:30 p.m.:

John Alexander (Arizona State University): Querlequitsch or Dystopia as the locus risus in the Early Modern Plays of Christian Weise


4:30-5:00 p.m.:


Allison P. Coudert (University of California at Davis): Laughing at Religion in the Long Eighteenth Century


5:15 p.m.: Pick-up for transportation to restaurant: La Cocina (Old Town Artisans), 201 N. Court Ave (520 – 622-0351)

5:45 p.m. Dinner: Southwestern Buffet

From here you can either walk back to the hotel (pleasant walk, ca. 0.7 miles), or catch a ride with me in the van.

8:00-10:00 p.m. Reception, Riverpark Inn, Hospitality Suite 134. Hosted by UA

8:30 p.m.: Roundtable Discussion: What have we achieved? Where do we go from here?

Preparation for publication

Sunday, May 3:

Excursion to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (http://www.desertmuseum.org/about/): $13.00 entrance fee on your own

Pick-up at the hotel: 8:15 a.m. (limit of max. 14 people),

For others, I would like to offer a short excursion to the historical mission church San Xavier del Bac (ca. 1790). Pick-up at

ca. 9:15 a.m., return to the hotel at ca. 11:00 a.m. (no charge)

Pick-up at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum at ca. 11:30 a.m., back to the hotel at ca. 12 p.m.

We wish to acknowledge the generous support of the following sponsors: the University of Arizona Library and Department of Special Collections, the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona, the University of Arizona Medieval Renaissance and Reformation Committee (UAMARRC), the Group of Early Modern Studies (GEMS), the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS, at Arizona State University, Tempe), the UA Departments of German Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, and the Interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Dr. Mary Wildner-Bassett