Australasian Humour Studies Network

Annual Conference

AHSN Conference Masthead



NOTE NEW VENUE: The Podium, 42 Melville Street, University of Tasmania





The Call for Papers for the 28th AHSN Conference has now closed. The preferred mode for delivering a paper/panel is in-person. Some papers will be accepted for online delivery and others as pre-recorded presentations available for viewing at any time. Preference will be given to delegates who can be physically present in Hobart and to student presentations.

To ensure that they receive all communications regarding the conference, all presenters and attendees should  subscribe to our free e-Newsletter, The Humour Studies Digest.


The Conference Program and Book of abstracts are now available. These are subject to change.


In terms of travel to Tasmania, the latest advice is as follows:

Be double-vaccinated and have evidence of your vaccination status with you. (Ideally you will have had a booster by February as well!).

Masks must be worn inside at all times. The usual social distancing and hygiene expectations apply.

As of 18 January 2022 fully vaccinated people travelling to Tasmania will NOT need to pass a Covid-19 test NOR will they have to register to travel

Upload the Tasmanian Government “Check in Tas” app onto your smart phone. It is important that delegates check in to every shop/venue/public transport etc. they visit for use for contact tracing should Covid-19 be detected. Using the Federal Government’s MyGov app, it is a simple process to receive an electronic vaccination status certificate and have this uploaded to your “Check in Tas” app for quick access if needed. (More details on how to do this can be found here.)

Check this website for the latest information before you travel.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers


Prof. Conal Condren FAHA, FASSA, University of New South Wales

Giving Shape ‘to Airy Nothing, a Local Habitation’ and the Name of Humour: Academic Myth and the Political Origins of a Concept.

Humour theory’s accepted lineage, construed from discussions of laughter, dates from antiquity. It is, however, only a recent promotional myth helping consolidate a field of study. A concept of humour thus projected as universal has more recent origins. Rather than being expressed in laughter, humour began as palliation for laughter’s dangerous aggression in a violent society.

Conal Condren

Conal Condren is an Emeritus Scientia Professor at UNSW, and has held visiting positions and fellowships at the University of Queensland and in the USA, Europe, New Zealand and Cambridge UK. He is a foundation member of the AHSN Review Panel. Predominantly he is an intellectual historian of early-modern Britain, with interests in the philosophy of historical writing. In these contexts, he has published on satire and on studying humour historically and he is currently finishing a new book on the latter topic. He is also writing a volume on Shakespeare and the ethics of office. With Aoise Stratford, he has co-written a prize-winning and widely performed black comedy, ‘Will and the Ghost’.


Dr Naomi Milthorpe, University of Tasmania

Naomi Milthorpe

From ‘Accession’ to Black Mischief: The Politics of Race in Evelyn Waugh’s Satire

In Henri Bergson’s famous formulation, comedy requires a “momentary anaesthesia of the heart.” This momentary anaesthesia implies the return of feeling to the place that was numbed, a return that may in all likelihood include a hurt. This paper attempts to think through the aesthetics and politics of satire, by looking closely at Evelyn Waugh’s 1932 satire of empire, Black Mischief. What does it mean to laugh at racist jokes, and does it mean differently now than it did 90 years ago? How does satire work to deform ethical positions through joke-making; what kind of political work is that doing; and who was and is hurt by these deformations?

Naomi Milthorpe is Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline for English, at the School of Humanities. Her research focuses on modernist, interwar and mid-century British literary culture. She is the author of Evelyn Waugh’s Satire: Texts and Contexts (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2016) and the editor of The Poetics and Politics of Gardening in Hard Times (Rowman, 2019). She is currently preparing a scholarly edition of Waugh’s 1932 novel Black Mischief for publication as volume 3 in The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh (Oxford University Press).


Dr Nicholas Holm, Massey University, New Zealand

Satire and the Dream of Cultural Politics 

Increasingly, humour is embraced as a legitimate means by which to conduct politics: most often under the auspices of “satire” However, while satire may sometimes appear as an especially successful instance of humour as a politically meaningful cultural act, there are also reasons for scepticism. With reference to the concept of reification, this presentation explores how satire may constrain, as much as consummate, the possible politics of humour.  

Nicholas Holm is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand. His research addresses the politics of popular culture with particular emphasis on humour and satire. He is the author of Humour as Politics (2017), and several articles on the politics of humour in contemporary media. He is a member of the editorial board of Comedy Studies.


Jon Kudelka, cartoonist

Cartooning and politics

Jon Kudelka has a science degree but he decided to “do science a favour and became a cartoonist” instead. As a student, Jon had an obvious flair for art, especially life drawing, and was encouraged by his Grade 10 art teacher to develop this skill. Life drawing remains one of Jon’s favorite hobbies. He is now an award-winning cartoonist (including two Walkley Awards and the National Museum of Australia’s Cartoonist of the Year Award) and his work appears in The Saturday Paper and the Hobart Mercury. Jon works in his studio / gallery The Kudelka Shop in Salamanca Place, Hobart – about a two-minute walk from the conference venue.


Registration and Travel 

Registration closes 15 Jan 2022.

Until 30 November 2021, fees are (in $A):

  • In person regular: 300 
  • In person unwaged/student: 220 
  • Online: 80 

From 1 December 2021, late fees will apply (until close of registration on 15 January 2022):

  • In person regular: 350 
  • In person unwaged/student: 270 
  • Online: 120 

Of early fees, all but $30 is refundable till 23 January 2022. 

Registered online presenters and attendees will be able to access:

  • Livestreamed interactive keynotes and Q&A 
  • Remote presentations integrated into live programming and pre-recorded presentations
  • Selection of recorded presentations and discussions (including keynotes) available post-conference

NB. The conference’s limited online slots are designed preferentially for Australasian students unable to attend physically and other presenters from Australia and New Zealand.


Tasmania in the summer is an ideal place to visit, so you are urged to start planning as soon as possible.  Why not add a holiday before or after the conference dates?  Wine and food, history and culture – and of course glorious scenery – all abound in lovely Tasmania. Note that Hobart is likely to be a popular destination around the beginning of the new year and booking early is always advisable.

Information is available here for the conference venue, accommodation, travel options and activities, including what to expect at the conference and extending your stay.

The Committee is looking forward to seeing as many AHSN’ers as possible in Hobart next February!


Conference Convenor:  Dr Daryl Peebles (also host of 17th AHSN Conference, 2011)
Committee:  Assoc Prof. Kerry Mullan, RMIT University
             Dr Jessica Milner Davis, AHSN Co-ordinator
             Dr Benjamin Nickl, University of Sydney
             Dr Mark Rolfe, University of NSW
             Dr Reza Arab, Griffith University


Conference email enquiries:  ahsnconference@gmail.com 


Review Procedures for AHSN Conference Proposals

Abstract submissions

Previous events