The power of satire: cultural boundaries contested
08 / 2009 - 07 / 2013
Satire has the ability to contest cultural boundaries. Facilitating this process, we propose, satire is not only interculturally, but also intermedially charged. Satire unfolds itself in a network of interactive, multiple media and it can challenge traditional media oppositions. Our project proposes a strategic intervention into the deadlocked scholarly debate on satire. In this debate satire has been mainly considered as an 'artistic', particularly a 'literary' genre per se ? which has proved to be an improductive approach. We consider satire as an intercultural mode of performance that is intermedially charged, a mode with the power to contest cultural boundaries in different communities and in different periods of time, a mode that travels between multiple media and challenges traditional media oppositions. The project concentrates on one fundamental issue: migrating from one medium to another - and, as such, using the creative tensions and interactions between them - how has the cultural impact of satire been framed and conditioned? It addresses this main question on the basis of three connected case studies of Western (post-doc project, phd project 1) and non-Western (phd project 2) satire between the age of Enlightenment, modern times and the postmodern present. All three subprojects focus on politico-religious satire cases that perform, negotiate, or rework central Enlightenment values in different media (film, television, print). The final synthesis (subproject 4) will evaluate the results of the subprojects and integrate them with a detailed analysis of recent public debates about satire (including one organised by the project team in 2012). We expect it to provide a scientifically based understanding of the cyclical character of satirical performances as well as their contradictory dimensions due to their cultural-historical contexts.