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Thinking Through Tragedy and Comedy A Symposium on Performance Philosophy and the Future of Genre


The symposium consists of three keynote lectures, two roundtable discussions and two concurrently running seminars. Active participation as presenter or panelist is by invitation only.

Roundtable Discussions

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« If you agree with me, there will be no lack in conversation; for I mean to propose that each of us in turn, going from left to right, shall make a speech in honour of Love. Let him give us the best which he can… »
(Plato, from The Symposium)

The symposium will feature two roundtable discussions, in which 4-5 panelists each will respond to and discuss a guiding question. Panelists will prepare a short response paper (max. 10 min) relating to the title question. Their introductory remarks are followed by a discussion among panelists as well as questions from the floor.

  • Panel 1: How do comedy and tragedy make/unmake the world?
  • Panel 2: How do comedy and tragedy perform philosophical thought?


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There are two concurrent seminars that run in three sessions over the course of the symposium. Each seminar has 10 participants and will mix tragedy and comedy papers. All seminar presenters are expected to attend all three sessions of their seminar in order to allow for sustained and in-depth discussions. Seminar papers will be pre-circulated. All papers should address one set of the following conceptual pairs as they relate to tragedy or comedy:

  • Suffering/Laughter
  • Violence/Ethics
  • Universal/Particular