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, 2007-12

Psychology and Health

  • Professor Carmen Moran, Psychology, Charles Sturt University
  • Dr Bruce Findlay, Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology (Panel Chair)
  • Dr David Rawlings, Psychology, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Maren Rawlings, Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology


  • Dr Debra Aarons, Linguistics, University of New South Wales

Arts and Humanities

  • Professor Michael Ewans FAHA, Music and Drama, University of Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Robert Phiddian, English, Flinders University
  • Dr Peter Kirkpatrick, English, University of Sydney
  • Dr Jessica Milner Davis, Letters, Art and Media, University of Sydney (AHSN Co-ordinator)
  • Dr Susan Turnbull, Media and Cinema Studies, La Trobe University
  • Dr Will Noonan, English and French, Université de Bourgogne

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 and International Studies, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Michael Lloyd, Social & Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

Management and Practice

  • Mr Lindsay Foyle, Cartoonist and Cartoon Historian