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Humour Summer School 2013
13th International Summer School and Symposium on Humour and Laughter: Theory, Research and Applications


Aims and Objectives

Interest in research on humour as well as practical applications of humour has been growing significantly over the past twenty years. In the course of this period, the field of humour research has expanded its scientific and scholarly basis and has established itself as a fertile, challenging, and exciting field of inter- and transdisciplinary inquiry.

The programme of the International Summer School and Symposium on Humour and Laughter is designed to provide both advanced students setting out on a research project and experienced researchers considering to enter the field of humour research with a thorough foundation in humour studies. It is our ambition to acquaint course participants with current theoretical models, with methodological issues and with factual knowledge to give them a sense of the complexity of the issues involved, and to steer them away from the pitfalls that are commonly encountered in the scientific study of humour.

To those interested in practical applications of humour in a variety of applied settings, the course offers an introduction to the approaches that are being used around the world to put humour to work and to deliver the benefits of humour and laughter.

Structure of Course

The course programme consists of different structural components which are intended to address the various interests and needs of the participants in the best possible way.

Lecture classes by a selected group of exerienced international scholars make up the bulk of the programme (see the main Summer School site for information about previous events). These "talks" are supplemented by workshops, a symposium, and opportunities for individual discussions with the speakers ("Meet the Lecturer"). Sessions are held from Monday morning to Saturday afternoon. One afternoon is set aside for relaxation and sight-seeing.

Lectures / Talks: Most of the presentations in the summer school programme are "talks" in the format of an academic lecture. They last for 45-50 minutes and are followed by a 10-15 minute period for questions and discussion. "Talks" constitute a single slot on the timetable.

Workshops: A "workshop" is a double slot (lasting from one to two hours) which gives presenters an opportunity to explore and examine their specific topics with greater depth. Traditionally, there have been parallel workshops with different topics so that participants are given a choice to pick a specialisation that is closest to their own work. A workshop may involve activities other than traditional lecturing, for example discussions, debates, or exercises performed by the audience.

Symposium: The "symposium" is a format in which participants present their planned, ongoing or completed research. They may also present ideas on how to implement and use humour in applied settings in any format that is suitable for this academic meeting. Depending on the total number of presentation, a time slot for an individual presentation in the symposium is limited to 15 or 20 minutes. Click here for a schedule and a list of the presentations in the Symposium.

Participants will be given the opportunity to sign up for Meet the Lecturer sessions in which they can discuss questions regarding their individual projects with a lecturer of their choice.

Speakers and Lectures

Dr. Wladislaw Chlopicki
Institute of English Philology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

  • Dilemmas of humorous discourse research
  • Script theory and cognitive linguistics
  • Metonymy in humour
Professor Christie Davies
Department of Sociology, University of Reading, GB
  • Testing hypotheses the case of the Stupidity Joke
  • The appearance and evolution of the disaster joke
  • How jokes change as they move between countries
Dr. Christian Hempelmann
Department of Literature and Languages, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas, USA
  • Computational approximations of human humor processing
  • Absurd and nonsensical humor

Dr. Elizabeth Holt
School of Music and Humanities, University of Huddersfield, GB

  • Humour and laughter in interactions
  • Some uses of laughter in interactions
Professor Giselinde Kuipers
Cultural Sociology, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Humor and social theory
  • The sense of humor: Social differences and
    how to study them
  • Publishing research in HUMOR
Dr. Liisi Laineste
Estonian Literary Museum, Center of Cultural History and Folkloristics, Estonia
  • Doing humour research on the Internet – methodology
  • Politics of taste in a post-socialist state
Tracey Platt & Jennifer Hofmann
Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Smiling and laughter
  • FACS workshop

Dr. Graeme Ritchie
Department of Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

  • An overview of humour research
  • Incongruity and its resolution
  • The structure of puns
Professor Willibald Ruch
Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • A lexical approach to laughter
  • Benevolent and corrective humor
  • Studies of Clowns and Clowning
Jérôme Urbain
Research center in Information Technologies, University of Mons, Belgium
  • An overview of automatic acoustic laughter processing
Dr. Reinhold Wandel
English Departrment, Magdeburg University, Germany
  • Humorous/funny drama activities (workshop)
Professor Holger Kersten
American Literature and Culture, Magdeburg University, Germany
  • Mark Twain and the Complexities of American Humor


Details of Presentations

Timetable for the week (July 18, 2013; PDF file)

List and schedule for Symposium presentations (July 17, 2013, PDF file)

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