Research

I am the author of two books – A Philosophy of Comedy on Stage and Screen and Rethinking Practice as Research and the Cognitive Turn. The former, published by Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury), is a Heideggerean phenomenology of humour developed from my doctoral thesis. The latter, published by Palgrave Macmillan, critically examines the conceptual underpinnings of cognitive approaches to understanding performance and the discourse around Practice as Research.  Additionally, I am the Primary Investigator on ‘Comedy on the Spectrum: Exploring Humour Production in Adolescents with Autism‘, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme, for which I will run a series of comedy workshops to find out what empirical differences (if any) there are between the humour produced by autistic individuals compared with neurotypical individuals.

Postdoctoral Research at University of Liverpool

I worked in the University of Liverpool’s Philosophy department as an AHRC funded Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project, ‘Patterns of Thought: Art and Philosophy for Children and Families‘.

Doctoral Research

Thesis Title – You Have to ‘Be There’: A Heideggerean Phenomenology of Humour

In my thesis, I use Heideggerean phenomenology to elucidate what I call the ‘hermeneutic conditions’ of humour – the structures that ground comic intelligibility. Or, put another way, the structures that make us the kind of creatures that can make and comprehend jokes.

On 29th May 2013 I was examined by Prof. Noel Carroll (Philosophy, CUNY) and Prof. Steven Connor (Cambridge, English) and passed without corrections.

Publications 

Books

May, S. (2015) A Philosophy of Comedy on Stage and Screen. London: Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury

May, S. (2015) Rethinking Practice as Research and the Cognitive Turn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Pivot, Palgrave MacMillan.

Articles

Allen, R. & May, S. (2015) ‘Encountering Anthropomorphism’, Performance Research, 20(2)

May, S. (2014) ‘Abject Metamorphosis and Mirthless Laughter: On Human-to-Animal Transitions and the ‘Disease of Being Finite”, Performance Research, 19(1)

May, S. (2013) ‘Take My Gag, Please! Joke Theft and Copyright in Stand-Up Comedy’. Comedy Studies, 4(2).

May, S. (2013) ‘Rise of Being in the World’ in Huss, J. (ed.) Planet of the Apes and Philosophy. Chicago: Open Court.

May, S. (2013) ‘Comedy on the Spectrum: An Interview with Asperger’s Are Us’. Comedy Studies, 4(1)

May, S. (2012) ‘Embodiment, Transparency and the Disclosiveness of Failure’. Body, Space and Technology. Vol 11/01 

May, S. (2012) Anthropic Objects and Anthropomorphic Things. Puppetry International. Issue 31, Spring/Summer 2012

As Editor

(2015) Performance Research – On Anthropomorphism. Issue 20, Volume 2. (April 2015) with Rich Allen (Worcester)

(2014) Puppet Notebook – Special Issue on Science and Puppetry. Issue 24, Summer 2014

(2013) Puppet Notebook – Special Issue on Object Theatre. Issue 22, Winter 2013.

Review Articles

Swetz, M & May, S. (2013) ‘Puppetry in Opera: A Conference Report’. Puppet Notebook. Issue 22, Winter 2012-2013

May, S. (2012) Puppetry for Theatrophiles: Review of Penny Francis’  Puppetry: A Reader in Theatre Practice. Puppet Notebook. Issue 21, Spring 2012.