News from the Society
ISHS Newsletter—The Humorous Times
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.
Fall 2005, Ralph Mueller (University of Fribourg) became the
third editor of the ISHS Newsletter, and under his direction
the ISHS Newsletter adopted 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. The Humrous Times is currently produced through the Society's home base at Holy Names University.
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.
Here for the Fall 2015 Issue of The Humorous Times.
ISHS Executive Board Election
Every two years, the International Society for Humor Studies holds an election for ISHS President and for two new Members-at-Large to the ISHS Executive Board. The new ISHS President will serve for two years, from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017, and will take over from Larry Ventis (College of William and Mary, USA), who will continue on the ISHS Board as the immediate Past President. The new Members-at-Large will replace Moira Marsh (Indiana University, USA) and Graeme Ritchie (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) and who have served on the ISHS Board since January 2012. The new Board Members will serve for four years from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019.
Balloting for the 2015 Election opened on November 14 and closed on December 23, 2015. Delia Chiaro (University of Bologna) was elected as 2016-17 ISHS President, and Liisi Laineste (Estonian Literary Museum) and Sharon Lockyer (Brunel University) were elected as Board Members-at-Large. We thank all of the candidates who participated in this election.
ISHS Conference (from Volume 28, Summer Issue, of the Humorous Times)
The 27th Conference of the International Society for Humor Studies was held at Holy Names University in Oakland, from June 29 to July 3. This year’s conference included over 150 presentations, workshops, and performances from scholars and professionals representing 26 countries and 31 states within the U.S.A. Paper sessions and workshops were organized into five thematic areas: (1) Cognition and Creativity, (2) Culture, Gender, and Community, (3) Health and Well-Being, (4) Individuals and Individual Styles; and (5) Public and Private Discourse. On June 29, opening day began in the morning with a preconference workshop on the Art of Improvisation, led by Regina Saisi and Chris Sams of the BATS School of Improv. The Conference opened officially in the afternoon with a welcome from Conference Convener, Martin Lampert, followed by a plenary session on Judiciary Humor, chaired by California Supreme Court Justice Carol A. Corrigan. In the later part of the afternoon, the Conference hosted a roundtable on Humor in Animation Art with artists from Pixar Animation Studios and the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum.
From June 30 to July 3, each Conference day began with a plenary session in the early morning followed by paper sessions and workshops in the late morning and the afternoon. In addition to the Judiciary Humor session, the other plenaries focused on Humor and Well-Being (June 30), Women in Stand-Up Comedy (July 1), Mark Twain in the West (July 2), and Cognitive Science and Humor Studies (July 3). Featured plenary presentations at the 2015 ISHS Conference included
Marc Galanter, University of Wisconsin Law School, Funny Judges: Judges as Humorous, Judges as Humorists
Christie Davies, University of Reading, Humorous Anecdotes about Judges in the United Kingdom
Pamela Hobbs, Attorney at Law, Los Angeles, Supreme Wit: The Use of Humor by the United States Supreme Court
Paul McGhee, The Laughter Remedy. Humor and Health: Has Research Supported the Popular Movement?
Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich, Humor and Subjective Well-Being
George Vaillant, Harvard University Medical School, The Evolution of Humor over the Lifespan
Sharon Lockyer, Brunel University, Women Matter in British Stand-Up Comedy
Kimie Oshima, Kanagawa University, Japanese Traditional Sit-Down Comedy
Regina Barreca, University of Connecticut, The Best Stand-Ups Stand Up for Something
Victor Fischer, University of California, Berkeley, Mark Twain in the West: An Exhibition
Benjamin Griffin, University of California, Berkeley, Editing Mark Twain in the West
John Bird, Winthrop University, Persona, Humor, and Metaphorical Conflict in Roughing It
Seana Coulson, University of California, San Diego, Conceptual Blending and Humorous Memes
Tony Veale, University College Dublin, Irony and Rule-Breaking in Rule-Based Generative Systems
For the first time, the Conference also included ten symposia and general sessions sponsored by ten international humor research organizations with additional papers provided throughout the Conference by the Australasian Humor Studies Network. The ten symposia and their sponsors were Revisionist Strategies for the Study of 19th Century American Humor (American Humor Studies Association), The Myths and Realities of Applied and Therapeutic Humor and Laughter (Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor), Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Women in Stand-Up Comedy (Center for Comedy Studies Research, Brunel University), Humour in Communication Styles (European Journal of Humour Research), Humor in the Hispanic World between Poverty and Wealth (International Society for Luso-Hispanic Humor Studies), Israeli and Jewish Humor (Israeli Society for Humor Studies), Catastrophe Humor (Japanese Society for Laughter & Humor Studies), Mark Twain in the West (Mark Twain Circle of America), Humor: Mirror of Society (Observatoire de l'Humour), and Humor and Play: Partners in Child Development (The Association for the Study of Play).
At a special luncheon on July 1, the Society also honored the exceptional work of three graduate students. Alan Roberts (University of Sussex) received the Don and Alleen Nilsen Award for his paper, Philosophical Foundations for Humor Research. ISHS Graduate Student Awards went to Ori Amir (University of Southern California) for his paper, The Neural Genesis of a Joke, and to and Stephen Skalicky (Georgia State University) for his paper, Study Finds Jack Shit: An Investigation of the Mental Processing of Satirical Onion Headlines. The Society also honored Paul McGhee with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering research on the psychology of humor and his more recent work on humor, health, and resiliency. In addition to the scholarly sessions, the Conference offered a special exhibit, organized by UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, on Mark Twain’s early life and works in California and Nevada.
The Conference also held an evening performance series that included an Improv Competition (June 30), a Stand-Up Comedy Competition (July 1), and the play, Lend Me a Tenor (July 2), directed by Joel Schlader of Oakland’s Woodminster Theater. Competing Improv teams included the Secret Improv Society, the Un-Scripted Theater Company, the Improvibles, and the winning team, the Made-Up Theatre. The Stand-Up Comedy Competition was hosted by Yakov Smirnoff, and included Mike Capozzola, Jamie Herrera, Kate Fox, Gabe Masson, Natasha Moss, David Nyugen, and co-winners, Gayla Johnson and Samson Koletkar. The Conference concluded on July 3 with the Society’s Annual Meeting of Members and a farewell dinner. We now look forward to next year’s ISHS Conference to be held next summer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
A Special Reflection on the 2015 ISHS Conference
Bernard Schweitzer, Vice President of the International Society for Heresy Studies (the other ISHS), presented at the 2015 International Society for Humor Studies Conference, and he reported on the Conference for the Heresy Studies Newsletter, Excommunicated. With his permission, you can read here Dr. Schweitzer's reflections in Excommunicated.
ISHS is pleased
to announce the continuation of special members-only book discounts
from Mouton DeGruyter, Wayne State University Press, Transaction
Publishers, and John Benjamins. For 2016, 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, 25% discounts
on books in Transaction Publishers' Humor Studies series, and 30% to 50% discounts on Humor Research books from John Benjamins.
ISHS Scholarship Fund
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 2016 membership application.
procedures for applying for these awards can be found in Working
Rules appended to the ISHS
Five Years of Developing a Community
of Humor Scholars by Alleen & Don Nilsen
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.
Five Years of Developing a Community of Humor Scholars
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