About AHSN

In July 1996, the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS) held its 15th Conference on Humour and Laughter at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (co-chairs: Dr J. Milner Davis, J. McCallum). It brought together 120 delegates from around the world and was opened by a highly (im)plausible Humor Scholar aka Australian impersonator, Campbell McComas (Hon D.Litt. UNSW). Comedy Awards made to McComas, Ruth Cracknell and Ernie Dingo, and to Barrie Humphries (in absentia) attracted wide media interest, as did many academic papers on humour research and practical workshops in a wide variety of disciplines (eg psychology, education, medicine, literature).

The success of the Australian Conference led the 1996 ISHS President, Jessica Milner Davis, to propose the establishment the Australasian Humour Scholars (now Studies) Network (AHSN), initially hosted by UNSW. AHSN was designed as a loose network to link Australian and New Zealand humour scholars and practitioners in different academic and geographical locations. From 40 members in 1997 and 10 different disciplines, AHSN has grown rapidly and in 2006, the e-mailing list for the 11th Annual Colloquium comprised 150 scholars and practitioners in more than 20 different academic disciplines and professions. By 2010, the number has grown to over 200 members, principally from Australia and New Zealand, with some from S-E Asia and further afield.

An important function of the Network is to offer support to isolated research students dealing with humour-related topics. Each year’s Colloquium offers a Post-Graduate Section (eg in 1999, 7 presentations from research students in Political Science, Psychology, Management, Linguistics and Theatre Studies). The membership of the colloquium provides students with feedback and advice by scholars working on humour from many different perspectives.

Among other responsibilities, members of the Review Panel review abstracts submitted for the AHSN's annual Colloquia. To view our review procedures, please click here.

Members of the AHSN Review Panel, 2015

Health and Psychology

  • Dr Bruce Findlay (Chair of Review Panel)
    Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Dr Angus McLachlan
    Psychology, Federation University Australia, Ballarat
  • Professor Carmen Moran
    Arts and Social Sciences, Charles Sturt University
  • Dr David Rawlings
    Psychology, University of Melbourne

History and Social Sciences

  • Emeritus Scientia Professor Conal Condren FAHA FASSA
    Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland
  • Dr Mark Rolfe
    Social Science & International Studies, University of New South Wales


  • Dr Debra Aarons
    Linguistics, University of New South Wales

Literature and Humanities

  • Adjunct Professor Michael Ewans FAHA
    Music and Drama, University of Newcastle
  • Dr Peter Kirkpatrick
    English, University of Sydney
  • Dr Will Noonan
    English and French, University of Sydney/Université de Bourgogne
  • Professor Robert Phiddian
    Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities, Flinders University

Media and Cultural Studies

  • Dr Rebecca Higgie
    Communication and Cultural Studies, Curtin University/Brunel University
  • Dr Nicholas Holm
    English and Media Studies, Massey University
  • Dr Michael Lloyd
    Social & Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Jessica Milner Davis (AHSN Convenor)
    Letters, Art & Media, University of Sydney

Visual Art and Practice

  • Mr Lindsay Foyle
    Cartoonist and Cartoon historian