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Australasian Humour Studies Network

Working together to explore the big questions: What are humour and laughter?
Humour is intangible, so how do we understand it? The Australasian Humour Studies Network connects multidisciplinary scholars and practitioners to achieve insights into this complex aspect of human behaviour.

We support scholars researching humour-related topics by offering a program of annual conferences and other resources, including links to the International Society for Humor Studies.

Our focus is on emerging research into humour and laughter and promoting links between humour scholars in different academic departments and geographical locations.

Our network has grown from 40 members across 10 different disciplines at our first conference in 1997 to more than 350 members by our 24th Annual Conference in 2018. Our members are primarily based in Australia and New Zealand, but also come from South-East Asia and elsewhere.

Our Work

Being cautiously optimistic in these difficult times, and on the assumption that the the Conference in Wellington in February next year can take place for attendees from within Australasia at least, the Organising Committee has now opened the Call for proposals.

The Conference theme is ‘Humour at Work: Applications, Industries and Economies’

The 2021 conference of the AHSN invites papers that explore the industrial and economic aspects of humour, including but not limited to:

  • The political economics of comedy production and distribution
  • Joking about business and work
  • Humour’s relationship to wider political economic contexts
  • Applications of humour in workplace settings
  • Comedy as art, business and vocation
  • The professionalization of comedy
  • The role of humour in workplace cultures
  • Comedy industries and technologies

**Please note that papers and presentations that do not directly address the theme of ‘Humour at Work’ are more than welcome. Being the official conference of the AHSN, researchers and practitioners working on any and all aspects of the study of humour are welcome.

Papers from research students on their work in progress are especially welcome and a number of scholarships will be awarded for the best student proposals.

Contributors from outside the university, especially those who are involved in the production and distribution of comedy, are especially welcomed.

For deadlines and details, visit the 27th AHSN Conference webpage or contact the Conference Committee (


  • Dr Debra Aarons, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Michael Haugh FAHA, University of Queensland
  • Associate Professor Kerry Mullan, RMIT University

Literature and Humanities

  • Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans FAHA, University of Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Peter Kirkpatrick, University of Sydney
  • Professor Robert Phiddian, Flinders University

Media and Cultural Studies

  • Professor Craig Batty, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Nicholas Holm, Massey University, Wellington
  • Dr Michael Lloyd, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Jessica Milner Davis FRSN, University of Sydney

Psychology and Health

  • Dr Bruce Findlay, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Dr Angus McLachlan, Federation University Australia (Chair)
  • Dr David Rawlings, University of Melbourne

Social Sciences and History

  • Emeritus Scientia Professor Conal Condren FAHA FASSA, University of Queensland
  • Dr Mark Rolfe, University of New South Wales

Visual Art and Practice

  • Mr Lindsay Foyle, Cartoonist and Cartoon historian
  • Dr Lucien Leon, Australian National University
  • Associate Professor Richard Scully, University of New England


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