2009: 6th International Symposium on Medieval and Early Modern Culture

6th International Symposium on Medieval and Early Modern Culture, University of Arizona, Tucson, April 30-May 3, 2009

Symposium poster



Laughter in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age: Epistemological Investigations from an Interdisciplinary Perspective


Dr. Albrecht Classen
University Distinguished Professor

This symposium will investigate fundamental questions concerning the meaning of laughter in the Middle Ages and the early modern age. People have laughed throughout time, and laughter proves to be a major characteristic of human life. We find documents of laughter, comedy, irony, satire, etc. in Latin and vernacular texts, within the context of the Church and among laypeople. There is a wide register of different types of laughter: friendly, aggressive, communal, sarcastic, bitter, biting, satirical, hostile, supportive, ridiculing, deconstructive, revealing, embarrassed, shameful, fearful, arrogant, powerful, and epistemological. Laughter has rung throughout times and cultures, and this symposium will shed light on this most important issue from interdisciplinary, comparative, mental-historical, art-historical, and philosophical perspectives. No concurrent sessions, max. 25-28 speakers, to facilitate a maximum of collaboration and synergies.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: January 31, 2009, but feel free to send an inquiry even after that date, to aclassen@u.arizona.edu

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

Selected papers will be accepted for publication in a planned volume. Each contributor to the volume will receive a free copy.

Anyone interested in joining the symposium as part of the audience, please contact the organizer. Student participation will be most welcome.

Languages accepted at the symposium: English, French, German, and Spanish. Non-English papers must be accompanied by a good English summary available as a hand-out. Abstracts of all papers will be posted well ahead of the symposium.

Hotel Accommodations: I have made a special arrangement with Riverpark Inn (formerly Pueblo Inn),  $72/night (plus tax [12%] plus $1 per night). Within the USA, call: 1-800 551-1466, refer to “Dept. of German Studies/Laughter.”  Local number: 520 239-2300. Transportation to and from the symposium (at the University of Arizona Library, Special Collections), will be provided.  For international guests, please fax your reservations to: 011- 520-239-2329

For a downtown map, click on map

For a campus map, click on campus

Transportation from the airport: There are three options:

1. Bus no. 6 to downtown ($1), Ronstadt Bus Depot, from there you walk west on Congress to Granada, turn left (south) to the I-10, through the tunnel, and the hotel is right there. Or you can call the hotel at 239-2300. But currently there is massive construction going on, so you might have difficulties. Alternatively, you can walk down Congress to the I-10, pass under it, then turn left and walk along Frontage Road to the Hotel (max. 15 minutes).

For bus no. 6 (really easy and very cheap), see their schedule: https://www.suntran.com/pdf/routes/Rt_6_Win_07.pdf). Once you have reached Ronstadt downtown (end station), follow these instructions:

Free Green line (shuttle bus) starts just north of  Ronstadt Transit Station (A) and goes to stop #3 (Greyhound bus depot) on Central Avenue, just east of the I-10 elevated freeway.  Walk south to Clark St.then west underneath I-10 to the Riverpark Inn.

Green line runs 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Green line leaves Ronstadt at :10, :30, :50 minutes after the hour (i.e. 9:10, 9:30, 9:50 a.m.)

Map route:


2. Take the airport shuttle (one way: ca. $23; round trip: ca. $44), Stagecoach (https://www.azstagecoach.com).
Reservation Information 520-889-1000 • reservations@azstagecoach.com.

3.regular taxi (ca. $25-$35. one way).

All prices subject to change.

I would like to acknowledge help and support from various sides, at most difficult financial times, to make this symposium possible. I am grateful particularly to UAMARRC (University of Arizona Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Committee), GEMS (Group for Early Modern Studies at the University of Arizona), ACMRS (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Tempe, AZ), the University of Arizona Library, Special Collections, and the Depts. of German Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, and Anthropology.