Skip to main content
Row of papier-mache cheshire cat and devil faces
Centres and institutes_

Australasian Humour Studies Network

Working together to explore the big questions: What are humour and laughter?
Humour is intangible, so how do we understand it? The Australasian Humour Studies Network connects multidisciplinary scholars and practitioners to achieve insights into this complex aspect of human behaviour.

We support scholars researching humour-related topics by offering a program of annual conferences and other resources, including links to the International Society for Humor Studies.

Our focus is on emerging research into humour and laughter and promoting links between humour scholars in different academic departments and geographical locations.

Our network has grown from 40 members across 10 different disciplines at our first conference in 1997 to more than 350 members by our 24th Annual Conference in 2018. Our members are primarily based in Australia and New Zealand, but also come from South-East Asia and elsewhere.

Our Work

The 26th AHSN Conference will take place from Wednesday afternoon to Friday evening, 5-7 February 2020. It is hosted by Professor Cliff Goddard, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, and Reza Arab, PhD candidate in Linguistics, Griffith University. The general theme of the conference will be “Humour and Belonging” (embracing non-belonging, exclusion etc).

The conference will be held at the Ship Inn on Griffith’s Brisbane South Bank campus. Nearby and within walking distance are a number of accommodation options suiting any budget.

Save the dates and start planning. The Call for Papers and Workshops will be announced soon, along with more details on the theme and travel and accommodation options. For all enquiries, email Reza Arab or Cliff Goddard.

AHSN will host a seminar by visiting scholars from Zürich University at RMIT University in Melbourne on 22 July 2019 (2pm-5pm) on current research on humour and its links with positive psychology. Entry is free but it will be appreciated if you can indicate your intention to attend, for planning purposes. For all enquiries, please contact Dr Bruce Findlay.

Willibald Ruch: "Current research on laughter, gelotophobia, cheerfulness, and humour interventions"

Sonja Heintz: "An update on individual differences and measurement of humour"

Prof. Dr Willibald Ruch is a Full Professor of Psychology at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. His research interests are in the field of personality and assessment, with a special focus on humour and laughter, cheerfulness, and smiling. In his doctoral dissertation at the University of Graz (Austria) in 1980, he developed a taxonomy of jokes and cartoons and studied their relation to personality. His more recent work, together with his research team at the University of Zürich, includes humour from a positive psychology perspective, the effectiveness of humour training programs and clown interventions, the ability to laugh at oneself, the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia), and the measurement of humour. He is a past President of the International Society for Humor Studies.

Dr Sonja Heintz is a senior research and teaching assistant at the Department of Psychology at the University of Zürich in Switzerland. Her main research interests in humour are individual differences (humour and comic styles, dimensions of the sense of humour), measurement (humour questionnaires and humour-related behaviours), and positive psychology (relationships of humour with character strengths and well-being, virtuous forms of humour).

The network is directed by a multidisciplinary committee that maintains academic standards, for example, by reviewing abstracts submitted for the annual conference, evaluating proposals to host conferences and planning workshops and seminars.

For more information, please read:

Newsletter

View some past editions of our Humour Studies Digest. You can also subscribe here to receive the newsletter.