Prof. Dr. Randi Gunzenhäuser (TU Dortmund): "Postmodern Laughter"

Thursday 11.07.2013, 2:15-3:45 p.m., U5/00.24

In this presentation, I will take laughter seriously. I will argue that comedy, humor, and laughter have been important as a mode in artistic practice since Modernism. Since the early 20th century, they have helped to undercut the framing of social control, opening up liminal spaces for fighting traditions and renegotiating the existing order. My examples will be taken from painting by artists such as Meret Oppenheim or Pierre et Gilles, but also from writing by Gertrude Stein and Kathy Acker, theory by Hélène Cixous or Donna Haraway, and films by Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino as well as the television series The Simpsons.

Randi Gunzenhaeuser is professor of American studies and media studies at TU Dortmund University. She studied American literary and cultural studies as well as theater at Pomona College, California, and the University of Munich where she completed her Ph.D. In addition to numerous articles on American literature, digital culture, and theories of power, she published Horror at Home: Genre, Gender und das Gothic Sublime and a book on machine people, Automaten – Roboter – Cyborgs: Körperkonzepte im Wandel.

At 8 p.m. we will be screening "Pulp Fiction" in the same lecture hall!