The Comic Renaissance in Italy

The Comic Renaissance in Italy is a conference hosted by Modern Languages and Classics within the College of Arts and Sciences. It will be held on The University of Alabama campus February 28-29, 2020 at the Bryant Conference Center, 240 Paul Bryant Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.

Please join us for a two-day conference on comic culture in Renaissance Italy.

What, we will ask, were the perimeters of the comic in this period, and how and when did these lines expand, bend, or break? This conference will explore the ways in which humor, parody, play, and farce challenged or loosened conventional boundaries—of genre, discipline, language, gender, dogma, social identity, and medium—contributing to what might be roughly called an unorthodox culture or, alternatively, productively giving rise to new entries into an established cultural climate. We will weigh whether the comic is always a parody of official and high genres, or whether ‘elite’ culture may be considered a response and adaptation to issues brought forward by comic or irregular culture. We will also examine opposing efforts during the Renaissance to scale back or more heavily delimit the terrain of the comic. This interdisciplinary event will focus especially on intersections in the fields of literature, theater, music, art history, philosophy, and history.  Over two days of presentations and dialogue, we will trace the multifarious forms and meanings of comedic material in the verse, the sketch, the refrain, the staff, the punchline, and the square of early modern Italy. This conference will allow us to reassess the meaning and the value traditionally assigned to the comic, paving the way for a redefinition of it as inherently interdisciplinary.