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June 2017, Week 3


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Christine Becker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:56:55 -0400
text/plain (69 lines)

Are You Having a Laugh? National Cultures of English-Language Television
Comedy Symposium

English-language television comedy is circulating transnationally more than
ever before, as Americans watch the Irish comedy *Moone Boy *on Hulu and
British comedy panel shows like *Have I Got News For You* on YouTube;
Netflix brings the BBC’s *Miranda *and RTE imports CBS’s *2 Broke Girls* to
Irish shores; the most popular sitcom on British television, *Mrs. Brown’s
Boys*, is created by an Irish performer; Australia’s *Please Like Me* defied
low ratings at home and rode overseas acclaim all the way to an
International Emmy Award nomination; and the most critically acclaimed
sitcom airing transatlantically is the US-UK co-production *Catastrophe*,
which takes place in London and features American and Irish comedians as
its lead performers. However, as Brett Mills and Erica Horton write,
“Despite globalization and complex international circuits of culture the
significance of nation remains central to television in terms of content,
production, and purpose” (*Creativity in the British Television Comedy
Industry*, Routledge 2017, 3). This statement resonates more for comedy
than other television genres given that humor is often steeped in
transgressions of nationally defined social norms and satire draws upon
knowledge of culturally specific identities and politically relevant
topics. So where do national cultures of English-language television comedy
stand in this era of burgeoning transnational flows?

The University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway will host a symposium
on this topic during the Fall 2017 semester. Accordingly, the symposium’s
organizers invite proposals for 20-minute presentations on national
cultures of television comedy within and across such countries as the
United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and Canada. Questions
symposium papers could address include: To what extent are national origins
and identities still embedded within the DNA of television comedy emerging
from these individual countries? What qualities define the distinctive
essence of American humor, British humour, and greann Éireannach on
television today? What comedic and narrative elements find resonance
transnationally, and what are audiences responding to in television
comedies that originate from countries other than their own? How might
issues of race, gender, class, and nationality either resonate or recede as
a series circulates internationally? In an era when American remakes like *The
Office*, *Getting On*, and *Veep* have found appreciative audiences, is
even the notoriously challenging U.S.-to-U.K. adaptation process getting
easier? How do TV comedies from smaller-market countries carve out a
presence in dominant markets like the U.S. and U.K.? How have changing
modes of production, methods of distribution, and economic climates
affected television comedy content in these countries? What aesthetic,
cultural, political, and industrial catalysts are most relevant to all of
these developments?

The symposium will take place at the University of Notre Dame’s Global
Gateway academic center in London on November 16 and 17. The symposium is
co-sponsored by the School of English, Drama & Film at University College
Dublin and the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at the
University of Notre Dame and co-organized by Christine Becker and Jorie
Lagerwey. A university press-published collection is expected to emerge
from this gathering. Funds to offset travel and lodging may be available
but cannot be guaranteed until a later date.

To be considered for participation in the symposium, please submit a
250-word abstract appropriate for a 20-minute presentation plus a 150-word
biography to Christine Becker at [log in to unmask] no later than August 1,
2017. Please direct any questions about the symposium to this email address
as well.

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