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Humorous States

Humorous States

New Diplomacy and the Rise of Comedy in International Relations

Key contacts: Christopher Browning

Funding: BA/Leverhulme

Start date: 01.10.2018

End date: 30.11.2021

Project website: 

Project overview

Why do states and state leaders cultivate a sense of humour? What is the impact of Trump’s tweets (their circulation and responses to them) on global politics? And how should we understand the affirmation of free speech by European states following the Danish Cartoons Crisis and the Charlie Hebdo attacks? Questions of humour/satire implicitly carry a potential for political controversy, yet this has not affected the rise of comedy in IR or its growing prevalence in that once staid realm of international diplomacy. This project observes that comedy and IR are increasingly coterminous, yet the intellectual resources required to address them seem scattered across several literatures and sub-disciplines. By drawing them together through two workshops geared to the production of a concept note, a Journal Special Issue, and a theoretical article, this project will develop a systematic analysis that foregrounds the function, meaning, and politics of these ‘humorous states'.