22nd Australasian Humour Studies Network Conference, The Women’s College, University of Sydney, 6-8 February 2016

“Unfunny: The Limits of Humour”

‘So how do we negotiate the perilous terrain that lies between humour and offensiveness, or free speech and cultural respect, in a pluralist society?’

Michael Pickering & Sharon Lockyer, Beyond a Joke: The Limits of Humour (2009)

Papers are invited from all disciplines on topics related to the study of humour, but we are particularly interested in those that take account of the limits of humour: when things cease to be funny; when humour offends or causes outrage; when humour becomes bad taste or bad faith; when humour is opposed or censored; when humour becomes oppression.

Even for the broad-minded boasting a good sense of humour, there will be many times when that is tested and challenged. Satire, especially, often sets out to be offensive, and stand-up comics can deliberately push boundaries. Who, or what, determines where humour begins and ends? What about those who are hurt by humour?

Does humour have any real power or political impact? Comedian Peter Cook ironically and famously compared his Establishment Club in Soho with those Weimar cabarets ‘which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the Second World War’. What about when humour is complicit with an oppressive status quo?

Humour Studies is an expansive inter-disciplinary field, and we welcome approaches that encourage dialogue across disciplines as well as within them. Postgraduate students researching humour-related topics are always especially welcome.

The draft program is here

Proposers wishing to access their proposals still under review may click here to reach the Conference Submission and Review website.

The AHSN Review Procedures are available and first-time participants may also find Guidelines for Presenters helpful.

FOR INFORMATION on attending the conference, including accommodation options and how to find The Women’s College and how to make enquiries, click here or follow the sidebar link.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN: All presenters and attendees at the Conference must register, whether scholarship holders or not. You may register, here AHSN2016 Registration or via the sidebar link. Please also make sure your email address is subscribed for the “AHSN Humour Studies Digest”, our e-Newsletter, so that you receive updates from the conference organizers.

We look forward to seeing you all next February!

Organizing Committee:
Dr Peter Kirkpatrick, Dept of English, University of Sydney (Convenor)
Dr Jessica Milner Davis, Dept of English, University of Sydney
Dr Will Visconti, FASS e-Learning, University of Sydney