28 Oct 2022

Walter Benjamin Prize for Young Researchers awarded to Szilvia Gellai and Kevin Drews

Out of a total of thirteen submissions for the Walter Benjamin Prize for Young Researchers, the selection committee has chosen the project “The Opportunities of Laughter: On the Aesthetics and Politics of Humour in Walter Benjamin” by Szilvia Gellai (University of Vienna) und Kevin Drews (University of Halle).

The 4,500 Euro award, jointly funded by the International Walter Benjamin Society, the Walter Benjamin Archive and the Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, is designed to enable early career researchers to organise a two-day workshop.

The winners will use the award to explore the role of humour, laughter, jokes and the comic in Benjamin’s works in relation to their critical, aesthetic, epistemological and political potential. Benjamin has long been typecast as a melancholy intellectual; in his work, humour often appears in a marginal, veiled or fleeting manner and is typically associated with smaller textual genres. Among other things, the workshop will look at his author portraits, where humour plays a particular role; in this context, it will also investigate wider intertextual networks and the intellectual and aesthetic resonances of Benjamin’s strategies.

The workshop is expected to take place in spring 2023 in Berlin.