Is laughter really the best medicine?

The different receptions of Charlie Hebdo in the journalistic fields of Europe and North America.

After the highly publicized terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, a vast foreign audience suddenly took a keen interest in the French magazine. However, it soon became apparent that the magazine was understood very differently in Europe and North America: While the reception was overwhelmingly positive in Europe, it was significantly more negative in most parts of North America.

Although the cultures of laughter in the two regions have traditionally been very similar, the divergent receptions of Charlie Hebdo revealed a deep divide between European and North American norms of laughter. In this seminar, we will examine the many differences in the reception of Charlie Hebdo in Europe and North America, and discuss their implications for the concept of a European culture of laughter.

Speaker: Lyombe Eko, author of award-winning book The Charlie Hebdo Affair and Comparative Journalistic Cultures (2019), and William S. Morris Professor.