CFP: Humour

Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendliteraturforschung
December 2024
Stichtag: 2023 09 15

What is funny about Wednesday Addams in Tim Burton’s TV series Wednesday (USA 2022) releasing two plastic bags full of piranhas into the swimming pool where the aspiring athletes of Nancy Reagan High School are training? And why do we laugh when Gomez Addams refers to his daughter as either “my little viper” or “my little death-trap”? The answer is obvious in this series, which delights in playing with death, the colour black and their implications. But not only black humour needs a specific setting to invite transgression and rule-breaking, the same applies to gentler and thus ostensibly more ‘child-friendly’ varieties of humour in the work of such authors as Astrid Lindgren, Dr. Seuss, Otfried Preußler, James Krüss, Goscinny and Sempé or Michael Ende. Childhood, in their texts, is a carefree form of existence, in contrast to a fundamentally serious adult one. Today childhood and youth are imagined differently. The spectrum of comic procedures that are used ranges from exploring the comic potential in everyday life – in slapstick and character comedy – to language games and nonsense to black humour’s play with the absurd and the grotesque. It is thus all the more surprising that current research on children’s literature and media pays only scant attention to techniques of comedy and the emotional effects of humour. Newer theories of humour, and how children’s literature and media research can profit from them, have not yet been seriously addressed.

The eighth volume of the open-access, peer-reviewed Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendliteraturforschung (Yearbook of the German Children’s Literature Research Society) takes all this as its point of departure: It seeks to present contributions that address contemporary as well as historical dimensions of humour in children’s and young adult literature and media, especially poetological and aesthetic aspects. Articles from both theoretical and object-oriented perspectives should address the manifold implications of this complex topic in its various narrative and medial forms (novels, short prose, poetry, plays, picturebooks, nonfiction, comics, graphic novels, audio media, films, TV series, computer games). Contributions may be in German or English, and while articles on German children’s literature and media are particularly welcome, the editors also welcome proposals on other cultural and linguistic areas.

Possible topics, aspects, approaches and focal points, each with reference to children’s and young adult literature or media, are

  • humour theory and children’s literature and media,
  • techniques of comedy in children’s literature and media,
  • comedy and stereotypes in the context of cultural studies (race, class, gender),
  • humour in inter- and transmedial perspective,
  • humour and seriality,
  • the emotional effects of humour; the interplay between emotions and humour.

Beyond the focus theme, the Yearbook will publish up to three open contributions – in German or English – on questions of children’s and youth literature and media from a historical or a theoretical perspective; proposals for these contributions are also welcome.

Please send a proposal of no more than 2,000 characters (incl. spaces) for a contribution on the focus theme or for an open contribution by 15 September 2023. The proposal should provide a short summary of the questions being addressed, establish theoretical positions and name the main literature to which the contribution will refer.

Notices of acceptance and invitations to submit a full manuscript will be sent out, together with a style sheet, by 31 October 2023.

The contribution itself should not exceed 40,000 characters (including abstract, footnotes bibliography and short cv) and should be submitted to the editors as a Word document by 01 March 2024.

We look forward to receiving your proposal. Please send it to

The Yearbook will be published in December 2024 on the website