Australasian Humour Studies Network



Being cautiously optimistic in these difficult times, and on the assumption that the Conference in Wellington in February next year can take place for attendees from within Australasia at least, the Organising Committee has now opened the Call for proposals.



27th Conference of the Australasian Humour Studies Network

3-5 February 2021, Massey University, Wellington Campus, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Theme: ‘Humour at Work: Applications, Industries and Economies’

Keynote Presenters

NB: Physical presence of keynote speakers is contingent on the travel policies of the NZ government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and these are liable to change. 

  • Dr Christelle Paré (Head of Research and Development, Just for Laughs/Juste pour Rire, Montreal)
  • Dr Barbara Plester (Senior Lecturer of Management, University of Auckland)

More keynote presenters to be confirmed


Although often imagined to be aligned with the leisurely or the everyday—something to be pursued for its own sake and own pleasures—in practice, humour is often big business. Whether understood in terms of the international comedy industry, of the role of humour in corporate contexts, or in its instrumentalist application in a range of industries and activities, humour can be alternately lucrative or costly. Moreover, comedy is not just profitable, but also often shaped by profits as new technologies, institutions and economies change the way we laugh. From the rise of the Netflix stand-up comedy special to the advent of a new breed of online celebrity-comedians, shifts in political economy have had consequences not just for where and when we consume comedy, but also for the types of humour that circulate and which of them can find an audience.

For the 27th meeting of the Australasian Humour Studies Network, we would like to encourage presenters to follow the money, and consider the different ways in which humour can be thought to have either sold out or cashed up. How has humour been implicated in a wide range of business practices and cultures? How has humour been put to work to earn its keep? What changes have arisen from the increasing professionalisation of comedy? How might humour be implicated or understood in light of our wider economic context?

**Please note that papers and presentations that do not directly address the theme of ‘Humour at Work’ are more than welcome. Being the official conference of the AHSN, we welcome researchers working on any and all aspects of the study of humour.

We welcome contributors who hail from a broad range of disciplines and fields of study: media and cultural studies, linguistics, fine arts, psychology, communication, education, literary studies, politics and political science, business studies, history, geography, sociology, theatre and performance, to name a few.

We especially welcome papers from research students on their work in progress, and as usual there will be a limited number of scholarships awarded as registration fee waivers for the best student proposals.

We would also like to extend a particular welcome to contributors from outside the university, especially those who are involved in the production and distribution of comedy.

The 2021 conference of the AHSN invites papers that explore the industrial and economic aspects of humour, including but not limited to:

  • The political economics of comedy production and distribution
  • Joking about business and work
  • Humour’s relationship to wider political economic contexts
  • Applications of humour in workplace settings
  • Comedy as art, business and vocation
  • The professionalization of comedy
  • The role of humour in workplace cultures
  • Comedy industries and technologies


Abstract deadline and details

All proposals will be blind reviewed by members of the AHSN Review Panel. If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please go to the Abstract Submission page and register to upload your 250 word abstract.

For other conference enquiries, please email: 2021AHSN@gmail.com

Important dates

Submission of abstracts opens: 15 May 2020

Close of submissions considered for Research Scholarships: 1 August 2020

Close of general submissions: 1 September 2020

Notifications of acceptance: 28 September 2020

Conference Organisers

Massey University: Nicholas Holm, Bryce Galloway

Victoria University of Wellington: Meredith Marra, Stephen Skalicky


Abstract submissions

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