CfP ISHS 2024 ‘LOLz and the Law: Online Humor in Free Speech Adjudication’

Panel proposal for the annual conference of the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS). The conference will be hosted online by Texas A&M University-Commerce, 19-21 April 2024.

The transformations of humor in the digital age (Attardo 2023) pose new challenges for free speech and its regulation – whether in court or by means of content moderation practices. For example, how can courts deal with the complex intertextuality of internet memes, where the same template could take on different cultural or political meanings depending on the forum in which it circulates (Greene 2019)? How is it possible to distinguish between outright disparaging humor and satirical criticism of hate speech, within digital environments dominated by “comic confusion” and “ironic ambiguity” (Holm 2021)? Who is the “reasonable audience” of a given controversial joke, in a time of viral circulation and growing fragmentation between “irony-laden subcultures” (Nagle 2017)? 

This panel welcomes contributions tackling any aspect of the intersection between online humor and free speech adjudication – including for instance issues related to online censorship, shadowbanning, defamation, hate speech or incitement to violence and discrimination, as well as new developments in Intellectual Property law.

Prospective contributors are welcome to send their abstract and bio (up to 250 words each) to AND by 31 January 2024, end of day.