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, Mr J. McCallum). It brought together 120 delegates from around the world and was opened by a highly (im)plausible humour scholar, aka the late Australian impersonator, Campbell McComas (Hon D.Litt. UNSW). Comedy Awards made at the conference to attendees McComas, Ruth Cracknell and Ernie Dingo, as well as one 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 and literature).

The success of this Australian Conference led Jessica Milner Davis, then serving as ISHS President, to propose the establishment the Australasian Humour Scholars (now Studies) Network (AHSN). Initially hosted by UNSW, AHSN moved to University of Sydney in 2008. It is 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 across 10 different disciplines, AHSN has grown rapidly: by its 11th Annual Conference in 2006 it comprised 150 scholars and practitioners from over 20 different academic disciplines and professions. Since 2016 and its 23rd Conference, it has had 300+ members, principally from Australia and New Zealand but also 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 Conference offers a platform for post-graduates to present on either finished work or work-in-progress and to receive feedback and advice from established humour scholars grounded in disciples varying from political science, psychology, linguistics, religious studies, performance and media studies to cultural and literary history.

The Network is directed by a committee (AHSN Review Panel) that maintains academic standards, for example by reviewing abstracts submitted for the AHSN's annual Conferences, evaluating proposals to host conferences and planning workshops and seminars. Given the challenge of crossing so many discipline boundaries, the membership of the Panel is widely drawn (see below). To view AHSN review procedures, please click here.

Members of the AHSN Review Panel, 2017

Health and Psychology

  • Dr Bruce Findlay (Chair of Review Panel)
    Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Dr Angus McLachlan
    Psychology, Federation University Australia, Ballarat
  • Adjunct Professor Carmen Moran
    Psychology, 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

Linguistics

  • 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, Université de Bourgogne - Dijon
  • Professor Robert Phiddian
    Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities, Flinders University

Media and Cultural Studies

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

Visual Art and Practice

  • Mr Lindsay Foyle
    Cartoonist and Cartoon historian