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York research unit for the study of satire

Current and upcoming projects

Current projects

Satire: Deaths, births, legacies

This ongoing disciplinary project launched with an international conference in June 2018. Examining satire, parody, pastiche, and caricature, this project comments on the broader social function of satire, variously confirming, complicating, or condemning narratives of its decline.

This project examines moments in British literary history, from the eighteenth century through to the present day, when satire has been lauded as successful or condemned as ineffective, unnecessary or obsolete. It celebrates and interrogates the legacies of eighteenth-century satire, foregrounding the form's supposed deaths and rebirths to consider the extent to which reports of satire’s death have been exaggerated.

You can read more about this project on our satire blog.

Smith & Waugh talk about satire

This podcast considers the form, function, future and history of satire.

Hosted by Drs Jo Waugh and Adam J Smith and featuring interviews with scholars and practitioners of satire, the podcast explores the satirical tradition from an increasing range of perspectives.

Guests have included Professor Karen Harvey (discussing satire and women), Dr Kate Davison (discussing satire and the social history of laughter), comedian Janey Goldey and Spiked journalist and Sky News pundit Andrew Doyle (aka Titania McGrath). It is available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts and most other popular platforms.

You can listen to episodes on our satire blog.

Upcoming projects

Keeping up with the Georgians: Satire and celebrity in the eighteenth century

This project accompanies an upcoming exhibition of art by eighteenth century caricaturist James Gilray. It uses art and context to make this body of historical satire exciting and relevant for a contemporary audience.

This project is directed by Drs Adam J Smith and Jo Waugh and developed in collaboration with Dr Sarah Burnage (Curator of Fairfax House) and scholars across the UK (including Dr Helen Williams at Northumbria University, Dr Olivia Ferguson at Birkbeck University, Dr Kate Davison at the University of Sheffield and Professor Karen Harvey at Birmingham University.)

Durational satire

Developed by Associate Professor Dr Claire Hind, Durational satire will be a series of conceptual performances occupying different spaces. Performances will include:

  • The curated unit for small satire: An object-based installation at York St John University.
  • Punch line: A 12 hour durational performance at Fairfax House.
  • Scratching satire: A practice led workshop to test, read, perform and share satirical material.


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