CFP: Reconsidering Popular Comedy, Ancient and Modern

Date: Wed 28 - Fri 30 August 2013.
Location: University of Glasgow
Convenors: Costas Panayotakis and Ian Ruffell

The comic theatre of Greece and Rome, like that of many other crucial periods
of comic history (e.g. Elizabethan and Jacobean drama; music hall; vaudeville)
is often described as popular comedy. This conference aims to investigate the
extent, limits and utility of considering comic drama to be "popular". We are
particularly interested in the modes of performance and reception of comedy.
How far does performance in front of a mass audience shape the form and
language of comedy? How genuinely "popular" are different comic traditions? To
what extent and in what ways do "elite" and "popular" interact in the original
and subsequent contexts of reception? Is "popular comedy" a useful term or is
it subsuming other more challenging concepts (such as, for example, class)?
And to what extent can parallel themes in the production and reception of
popular comedy be seen across cultures? The conference begins with the comic
traditions of Greece and Rome, but is intended to broaden out the question to
consider popular comedy in other periods and modes.

Confirmed speakers:
Martin Revermann (Toronto), James Robson (Open), Ralph Rosen (Penn), Alan
Sommerstein (Nottingham), Gonda van Steen (Florida) and Peter Wiseman

The conference is supported by a grant from the Institute for Classical

We would like to invite proposals for papers of around 30 minutes in length
on any aspect of the above. Titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words
should be sent to Ian Ruffell ( by January 31, 2013.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please don't
hesitate to contact either of us.

Costas Panayotakis

Ian Ruffell