CEREES Lecture

Monday 8 April, 2024, 18:00-20:00


Authoritarian Laughter: Political Humor and Soviet Dystopia in Lithuania

Neringa Klumbytė (Miami University)




Venue: TBC Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road London E1 4NS

[QMUL Campus Map linked here]

Book here: Eventbrite



About the Event:

Speaking on the topic of her award-winning book, Neringa Klumbytė will examine the role of humour in times of repression and war. In the Soviet Union official humor was a propaganda tool for instituting communist ideology and governing society. In Soviet Lithuania, paradoxically, while official humor institutions involved people in co-governance through the intimacy of laughter, they also created critical publics who shared dystopian visions of Soviet modernity via authoritarian state sponsored venues. These critical publics were mobilized in anti-Soviet revolutionary laughter in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In Soviet times, during the collapse of the USSR, or recently the war in Ukraine, humor has served as a medium of political participation and emancipation for a national cause.


About the Speaker:

NERINGA KLUMBYTĖ is Professor of Anthropology and Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and Director of the Lithuania Program at the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, Miami University. She is the author of Authoritarian Laughter: Political Humor and Soviet Dystopia in Lithuania (Cornell UP, 2022), the winner of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies Women’s Forum prize; a co-author of Social and Historical Justice in Multiethnic Lithuania (2018), and co-editor of Soviet Society in the Era of Late Socialism, 196485 (2012, with Gulnaz Sharafutdinova).


Event outline:

Welcome and introduction – 18:00

Discussion, chaired by Natalaya Chernyshova (QMUL) – 18:10

Drinks reception, meet the speaker – 19:30