Australasian Humour Studies Network


AHSN Conference Masthead



PLACE: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania




The Call for Proposals for the 28th AHSN Conference is now open.  It will close on 20 August 2021. The Conference theme is “THE POLITICS OF HUMOUR and THE HUMOUR OF POLITICS” and proposals addressing this theme will be especially welcome.  However, the Conference Committee will also consider proposals on other aspects of humour and laughter more generally.  Post-graduate students are warmly encouraged to submit proposals.  The AHSN offers several scholarships for the first successful proposals by research students and in addition there will be five scholarships for University of Tasmania students to attend free of charge, whether presenting or not.

Humour is created, received and disseminated in many different social and cultural contexts, including that of politics. Humour and laughter can play an active role in politics, whether personal, local or national but they themselves also possess their own internal politics. The aesthetics of humour have long been the subject of philosophical and literary debate, from Aristotle and Plato to Confucius and Mencius. Today’s interconnected world means that humour and laughter are no longer simply private matters but are subject to rapid dissemination. As a consequence, they meet with audiences far beyond what may have been their creator’s original conception—sometimes bringing positive results but as world events in recent years have shown, sometimes rejection and backlash. Politics and humour are inextricably bound up together, a topic that calls for critical examination and discussion.  This conference is designed to promote that enquiry in the scholarly, friendly and supportive atmosphere that has characterised the meetings of the Australasian Humour Studies Network since its inception in 1998.

Prospective presenters will be asked to indicate a preferred presentation mode when submitting their abstract (“in person”, “online only” or “online preferred”). Noting that government policies in both Australia and New Zealand/Aotearoa currently allow travel to Tasmania from within Australia and from NZ, the Conference’s preferred mode for delivering a paper/panel is “in-person”. Accepted papers that indicate “online” will be pooled for assessment on merit and presented in a limited online-only portion of the conference (e.g., one daily live Zoom panel – not pre-recorded). Preference in accepting proposals will be given to delegates who can be physically present in Hobart and for online presentation to student proposals.

More details and instructions for abstract submission can be found here. The abstract submission site can be accessed from the Call for Papers or at the link at the bottom of this page.

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


Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Conal Condren FAHA, FASSA

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

Conal Condren is an Emeritus Scientia Professor at UNSW, and has held visiting positions and fellowshipsat 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

Naomi Milthorpe is Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline for English, at the School of Humanities. Herresearch 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).




Registration and Travel 

Registration for all presenters and attendees will open shortly. 

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 venueaccommodation, 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