Infectious Laughter: From Comic Zombies to Joker Science – Humour and Contagious Diseases in Pop Culture (Part 1)

26 May 2021

This online symposium will explore cultural interpretations of epidemiology and virology, focusing on comic cultural imaginaries of pandemics. Asking what comic scenarios of infectious diseases look like in different media, speakers will discuss comic zombiism in film, clown viruses in Joker comics and COVID-19 jokes on the internet. What can we learn from comic zombies and the Joker – the ultimate Clown Prince of Crime in the DC Universe – about infectious diseases? What do viral jokes about pandemics in popular communication that explicitly refer to these pop cultural phenomena teach us about our understanding of the spread of diseases? And in what way is the spread of humour comparable to the spread of viruses?

This symposium will be co-organised and co-hosted by Dr Anastasiya Fiadotava (Humour Studies & Comparative Folklore, Estonian Literary Museum, Estonia) and Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens (CPAS, ANU).

Photo by Jürgen Bürgin -

This event will be held on zoom in May 2021. Details to be advised.


Anna-Sophie Jurgens