International Society for Humor Studies

ISHS News and Newsletter


Recent News from the Society

The ISHS Newsletter—The Humorous Times

2013 ISHS Board Election

2013 ISHS Conference

2014 Book Discounts

The ISHS Scholarship Fund

Twenty Five Years of Developing a Community
of Humor Scholars
by Alleen & Don Nilsen

The ISHS Newsletter—The Humorous Times

From 1988 through Winter 2005, the ISHS Newsletter appeared as a separate section of the Society's journal, HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research. Its first two editors were Alleen Nilsen (Arizona State University), who served from 1988 through 2003, and Amy Carrell (University of Central Oklahoma), who served for 2004 and 2005.


In Fall 2005, Ralph Mueller (University of Fribourg) became the third editor of the ISHS Newsletter, and under his direction the ISHS Newsletter has a new name—The Humorous Times—and a new look. As an e-newsletter, The Humorous Times continues to report on international activities, but it also includes special features on humor research as well as squibs and short humorous writings. With the Fall 2012 Issue, The Humorous Times began to feature book reviews of recent publications in Humor Studies. In Fall 2013, Ralph Mueller turned over the editorship of the Humorous Times to Sean Guillory (MD Anderson Cancer Center).

Current ISHS members receive the the ISHS newsletter electronically and can access it online here on the News page of the ISHS Website. Current ISHS members can also access past ISHS Newsletters in the Newsletter Archive also found on this page.


Click Here for the Fall 2013 Issue of The Humorous Times.

2013 ISHS Executive Board Election

In Fall 2013, the Society held its biannual Board elections through the internet service, Qualtrics. With 170 returned ballots, Larry Ventis (College of William and Mary, USA) received the majority of the votes cast for ISHS President. He will serve as ISHS President through December 31, 2015. Goh Abe (Kagawa University, Japan) and Christian Hempelmann (Texas A & M University–Commerce, USA) were elected as ISHS Board Members-at-Large and will serve through December 2017. We thank Willibald Ruch for his service as ISHS President for 2012 and 2013 as well as Chao-Chih Liao and Andrea Samson for their roles as ISHS Board Members from January 2010 through December 2013.

2013 ISHS Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
The opening reception for the 25th International Society for Humor Studies Conference was held in the Great Hall of the Sir Christopher Wren Building, providing authentic colonial atmosphere. Entertainment was provided by members of the Botetourt Singers, and the combination of their vocal talent and the Great Hall’s acoustics greatly enriched a special evening.

Highlights of the first day included an opening plenary session and the first talk was the Presidential Address by Willibald Ruch (Univ. of Zurich) on Humor in Transgressions: Benevolent and Corrective Humor. In an afternoon session, Rod Martin (Univ. of Western Ontario) served as convener and co-author in a Symposium on Investigating Humor Styles and Well-Being within Individuals over Time: Daily Diary Techniques. In the Comedy Contest Wednesday evening, Jeri Martin was awarded the highly coveted ROFLMAO Trophy for first place, and Rebecca Higgie won the LOL Trophy for her second place finish.

Thursday began with a plenary session, and the first lecture was by Robert Mankoff, cartoon Editor, New Yorker magazine, who spoke on The New Yorker’s Cartoon process: Creating, Editing, Publishing, and Monetizing Cartoon Humor. Some representative paper session topics during the day included Cross Cultural Humor, chaired by Xiao Dong Yue (City Univ. of Hong Kong) Stand-Up Comedy: Venue, Technique, and Consequences, chaired by Eric Shouse (East Carolina Univ.) and Humor in Art and Protest, chaired by Janet Bing (Old Dominion Univ.). The evening literally ended with a bang, including Fourth of July Fireworks in Colonial Williamsburg and a torchlight procession by the Fife and Drum Corps.
Friday’s plenary session featured papers by student award winners. The Don and Alleen Nilsen Young Scholar Award went to Chelsae Hay (Tarleton State Univ.), for her paper, It’s All in the Ending: Target Shifts in Tragedy and Restoration Comedy. The two Graduate Student Awards went to Sara Caird (Univ. of Western Ontario), whose paper was titled, Funny You Should Say That: The Role of Daily Humor Styles in Dating Relationships, and Anna Cairns (Oxford Univ.), who spoke on, ‘Firm in reliance, laugh a defiance’: The Laughing Suffragette and Political Protest on the Stage. Additional sessions included a Panel Discussion on Australian Radio Prank: Tact and Humor in the Digital Age, chaired by Paul Lewis (Boston College) Humor in Public and Social Media, chaired by Patrice Oppliger (Boston Univ.), and Native American and Other Tricksters, chaired by Gretchen Martin (The Univ. of Virginia’s College at Wise). The evening ended with the banquet in the Sadler University Center.
To view a YouTube video of the 2013 ISHS Conference, provided by Rod Martin, click here.

2014 Book Discounts
ISHS is pleased to announce the continuation of special members-only book discounts from Mouton DeGruyter, Wayne State University Press, and Transaction Publishers. For 2014, ISHS members can receive sizable discounts on books in Mouton deGruyter's Humor Research series as well as 20% discounts on other books published by Mouton deGruyter. Members also receive 40% discounts on books in Wayne State University's Humor in Life and Letters series and 25% discounts on books in Transaction Publishers' Humor Studies series.
Members, you can contact the ISHS Executive Secretary to receive your Wayne State and Transaction Publishers promotion codes. Click here to see a list of selected Mouton-DeGruyter, Wayne State, and Transaction's Humor series books.
The ISHS Scholarship Fund

In 2006, Holy Names University in Oakland, California established a special ISHS fund, so that the Society could receive contributions to support and recognize graduate students and notable humor researchers. Scholarships may be awarded to help a student or scholar complete important humor research or to present at one of our annual conferences. In 2012, the Society further established the Don and Alleen Nilsen Young Scholars Award to recognize notable student achievements at the Society's Conferences. An Awards Committee, established by the ISHS Executive Board, currently determines the number and the size of each award based on merit, need, and the availability of funds. If you wish to contribute to this scholarship fund you can make a donation with your 2014 membership application.

The procedures for applying for these awards can be found in Working Rules appended to the ISHS Constitution.

Twenty Five Years of Developing a Community
of Humor Scholars
by Alleen & Don Nilsen

Recently, Alleen and Don Nilsen wrote for the Journal of the American Humor Studies Association an article on their 25 years of service to humor scholarship in the United States and internationally.  ISHS is pleased to provide this article online to our members and others interested in humor studies. You can read the Nilsen's story as well as a recent Danish University of Education intereview with Don Nilsen by clicking on the links here.


Twenty Five Years of Developing a Community of Humor Scholars           JASH Table of Contents           Don Nilsen Interview


ISHS Newsletter Archive

In consultation with Mouton DeGruyter, the International Society for Humor Studies is pleased to provide its members with online access to the current issues of the Society's Newsletter and pre-2006 issues that also appeared in the Society's journal, HUMOR: International Journal for Humor Research. For more information on our journal, please visit the Journal pages on the ISHS or the Mouton DeGruyter websites.

The ISHS Newsletter Archive currently contains the Society's Newsletters from Winter 2000 (Volume 13, Issue 1) through the current issue. Click on Volume 26, Fall 2013, to read the current issue of The Humorous Times. Current members, to access earlier issues of the Newsletter, you must enter your 2014 ISHS password.

Volume 26:   Winter 2013 & Spring 2013        Summer 2013     Fall 2013

Volume 25:   Winter 2012 & Spring 2012        Summer 2012     Fall 2012

Volume 24:   Winter 2011      Spring 2011      Summer 2011     Fall 2011

Volume 23:   Winter 2010 & Spring 2010        Summer 2010     Fall 2010

Volume 22:   Winter 2009           Spring & Summer 2009          Fall 2009

Volume 21:   Winter 2008 & Spring 2008        Summer 2008     Fall 2008
Volume 20:   Winter 2007      Spring 2007      Summer 2007     Fall 2007

Volume 19:   Winter 2006      Spring 2006      Summer 2006     Fall 2006

Volume 18:   Winter 2005 (One issue only)

Volume 17:   Winter 2004 & Spring 2004       Summer 2004      Fall 2004 

Volume 16:   Winter 2003     Spring 2003      Summer 2003      Fall 2003

Volume 15:   Winter 2002     Spring 2002      Summer 2002      Fall 2002

Volume 14:   Winter 2001     Spring 2001      Summer 2001      Fall 2001

Volume 13:   Winter 2000     Spring 2000      Summer 2000      Fall 2000