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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

Call for proposals now open

The 26th AHSN Conference will take place from Wednesday afternoon to Friday evening, 5-7 February 2020 at the Griffith University South Bank Brisbane campus. It is hosted by Professor Cliff Goddard, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, and the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (GCSCR).

The theme of the conference is ‘Laughter and Belonging’. Laughing together can be a powerful force for bonding and bringing people closer to one another, but laughter and humour can also be divisive and exclusionary. This year’s theme invites presentations on either or both aspects of laughter and humour. As in previous AHSN conferences, however, presentations are welcome on all aspects of social laughter and humour, and from diverse disciplinary perspectives, including not only humour studies as such, but also literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, politics, psychology, philosophy, history, comedy studies, law, creative practices, sociology, communication studies and others.

The Call for Papers and Workshops is now open.

Visit the 26th AHSN Conference webpage for details on making a submission, keynote speakers, important dates and travel and accommodation options.

For all enquiries, please email us

Postgraduate Scholarships

As in previous AHSN conferences, proposals from research students are particularly encouraged. There are five postgraduate scholarships available, based on merit. The scholarships will waive the registration fee and successful candidates will be advised by 31 August.

The 26th AHSN Conference is co-hosted by the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (GCSCR).

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).

For the detailed program and abstracts, click here.

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:


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