Each spring, the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Gender and the Department of Women's & Gender Studies co-sponsor a distinguished lecture.

Cynthia Willett

Cynthia Willett, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Emory University

Thursday, April 6, 2017
6 p.m., Forum, Elaine Langone Center
FREE and open to the public

"On Humor: Feminist Makeovers from Sluts and Other Social Misfits


Despite the perception that feminists lack a sense of humor, and that women along with other social misfits are the natural targets of laughter, women have long used comic tactics to subvert conventional norms. This talk explores how the very concept of the comic alters once its natural targets become laughter's central agents rather than its humiliated victims.

Prof. Willett is currently working on a book entitled The Belly Laugh: Affective and Emotional Politics of Humor. Her earlier books include Irony in the Age of Empire: Comic Perspectives on Freedom and Democracy; Interspecies Ethics; and Maternal Ethics and Other Slave Moralities.

Prof. Willett is the Women's and Gender Studies Distinguished Lecturer and opening keynote speaker for the Ethics and Aesthetics of Stand-Up Comedy Conference.

Recent Speakers

Judith Plaskow, Professor emeritus, Department of Religious Studies, Manhattan College"The Gender Politics of Public Space: Bodies, Restrooms and Social Justice." (2016)

Jeanne Marecek, Department of Psychology, Swarthmore College. "Beyond Difference: Re-imagining Gender, Sex, and Sexualities." (2015)

Anne McClintock, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  "US Empire, Paranoid Masculinity, and the Gendered Dynamics of Torture." (2014)

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University. "Disability Stories" (2013)

Gail Dines, Wheelock College. "Sex, Identity & Intimacy in a Porn Culture" (2012)

Gina Athena Ulysse, Wesleyan University. "When the Body is a Country's Archive: Some Women's Stories of Trauma, Stories of Will" (2011)

Anne Fausto-Sterling, Brown University. "Gender, Sexuality, and the Problem of Memory" (2010)

Helene Foley, Columbia University. "Classical Muses: How Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-centurey Women Re-imagined Greek Tradgedy for the U.S. Stage" (2009)

Janice Radway, Duke University."What are Zines? And What Do Girls Do With Them?" (2008)

Michael Kimmel, sociologist/author. "Mars and Venus, or Planet Earth: Women and Men in a New Millennium" (2006)

Christine Battersby, University of Warwick. "Flesh Questions: Representational Strategies and the Cultures of Birth" (2005)

Cynthia Enloe, Clark University. "The Militarization of Us and Them: American Civilians, American Soldiers and Iraqi Women" (2004)

Shahnaz Khan, Wilfred Laurier. "Finding Space Beneath My Feet: Post September 11th Reflections of a Muslim Feminist" (2003)

Charis Thompson, Harvard. "Heterosex: The Human Embryo in the New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies" (2002)


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