"Humour: Politics, Pragmatics, Ethics”

The 21st AHSN Conference will take place 4 - 6 February 2015 at the State Library of South Australia, hosted by the Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities (FIRtH). The organising team comprises four Flinders University staff: Dr Christine Nicholls (Australian Studies), Associate Professor Robert Phiddian (English), Dr Colette Mrowa-Hopkins (French) and Dr Antonella Strambi (Italian), assisted by Ms Joy Tennant, FIRtH administrative assistant (

The Call for Papers has now closed and Registration for presenters and attendees is open. To register, click on the side-bar link, “AHSN2015 Information”, and locate the link to the Conference website at Flinders University where the Registration form is available for download. Information on travel and accommodation options and how to make an enquiry is also posted at the Conference website. The draft program will be available on both sites when finalized. We look forward to seeing you there in February!


Flinders Institute of Research in the Humanities (FiRTH) will offer in conjunction with the AHSN2015 Adelaide Conference a day-long


This is an interactive event for Australasian Post-Graduate Students researching humour and laughter, and will be presented by Dr Jessica Milner Davis (AHSN Co-ordinator) and Dr Bruce Findlay (AHSN Review Panel Chair).

This free event will be held on the Flinders University Campus at Bedford Park, South Australia, on 7 February 2015, in the International Room (5.34, Education Building, Flinders University).

Note: Full Day Class (9.00 am-4.30 pm) - bookings compulsory

Enquiries & Bookings: or


Guest Lecture by Dr (Habil.) Przemysław Marciniak, University of Silesia, Poland

Bloodthirsty doctors, underground mice and annoying scholars:
Humour in the 12th century Byzantine satires

AHSN and Dept of Greek and Byzantine Studies, University of Sydney, jointly present this lecture in The Refectory Room (H113), Main Quad (S-W corner, basement level), University of Sydney, on Friday 5 December 2014, 11.00am-12.00 (light refreshments afterwards).

Abstract: To say that the Byzantines mostly mourned and wept but did not laugh is today a cliché. Despite it, there is a growing number of studies on Byzantine humour found in chronicles, letters and visual sources. Yet the most obvious genre – satire – remains almost untouched. To some extent perhaps this is caused by a mistaken view of Byzantine satires as simple imitations of ancient, mostly Lucianic, works.

The aim of this paper is to focus on the satires written in 12th century Byzantium – the time of ‘Byzantium’s greatest literary flourishing’. The chosen group of texts consists of the works authored by Theodore Prodromos, one of the most prolific Byzantine literati; the anonymous Timarion; and two works modeled on Lucian’s Dialogues of the Dead. It is intended to show how humour in those texts was constructed and how ancient models and motifs were creatively reused to express Byzantine Realien. The paper will also discuss to what extent humorous elements in these satires may reflect the ‘Byzantine sense of humour’ in the 12th century.

Przemysław Marciniak is Professor of Byzantine Literature at the University of Silesia in Poland and the Head of the Department of Classical Philology. He has taught and worked in various institutions in Germany, France, Sweden, UK and the USA. He has authored books and papers on Byzantine theatre, performance and humour and on the reception of Byzantine culture, including the entry on ‘Byzantine Humour’ in the Sage Encyclopedia of Humor Studies (2014). His newest book is the Polish translation of the anonymous Byzantine satire Timarion.

NOTE: This lecture forms part of a Greek and Byzantine Studies Conference, convened by Prof. Vrasidas Karalis, University of Sydney. AHSN Members and their guests are welcome to attend this session of the Conference free, courtesy of Prof. Karalis. For catering purposes, however, please email the AHSN co-ordinator, Dr Jessica Milner Davis:

For maps and information on casual parking on campus, see: