Specialist Interest Groups

In Fall 2023, the International Society Introduced Specialist Interest Groups. The groups bring together experts in their areas of specialization to share idea, develop projects, collaborate on research papers, and present at conferences. ISHS members are welcomed to join current groups that fit their interest and to propose future Interest Groups. You can join a SIG by contacting the SIG organizers (links provided in the descriptions) or by joining the SIG in the ISHS Forum. To propose a Specialist Interest Group (SIG), you should submit a proposal to humorstudies@outlook.com that includes a title, leader names with contact information, a mission statement, and a list of potential members.

Humor and Artificial Intelligence
The ISHS SIG for Humor and Artificial Intelligence, based at the Semantic Artificial Intelligence and Creativity Lab at Texas A&M University–Commerce, aims to bring together researchers and practitioners for the purposes of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, facilitating access to resources, and promoting innovation and rigor in research into computational humor. The SIG organizes a recurring panel at the ISHS Conference and holds fortnightly online meetings. Ongoing work includes establishing a web presence; producing a running survey of computational humor publications, software, and data sets; and organizing workshops, tutorials, and other events aimed at community building and cross-disciplinary transfer of practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

Contact: Tristan Miller or Christian Hempelmann

Humor and the Global South
The "Global South", although made of a complex collection of peoples and nations across different continents, share common historical, social, and political patterns of underrepresentation, exploitation, and marginalisation. These issues have been addressed by an emerging production of humor scholarship developed from and/or about the Global South. However, this production is currently dispersed, as it has not yet been articulated in a common research framework tailored around Global South contexts. This group aims to bring together researchers who are developing theoretical or empirical research about humor in the Global South. It will be a privileged space to discuss the specificities of humor in peripheral countries, to identify key research gaps, and to propose pathways for further study. Our mission will be to introduce, debate and broaden analyses of humorous expressions produced by or referring to actors of the Global South.

Contact: João Paulo Capelotti or ISHS Global South

Humor and Religion
Humor and religion intersect in diverse ways in public life. These multifaceted encounters raise various sets of questions and perspectives from which to study humor and religion:

The ISHS Religion and Humor Special Interest Group will:

Contact: Nicole Graham or Lina Liederman

Humor and Translation
This SIG's mission is to highlight the study of how humor and comedy do and do not travel across different languages and cultures when an attempt is made to adapt them from a source to a target context. Our SIG's main objective is to offer a platform for interdisciplinary research, by fostering connections and synergies among scholars in the fields of humor studies and translation studies, by supporting exchanges of ideas among members, and by showcasing their research through online events open to both academics and the general public.

Contact: Chiara Bucaria or Anthony Mitzel

Humor, Free Speech, and the Law
Due to its elusive and subjective nature, humor is often at the center of complex legal cases revolving around freedom of expression. How can judges and regulatory bodies strike a fair balance between satire and defamation, provocative jokes and hate speech, or parody and copyright violation? These questions – as well as analogous online content moderation issues – have recently been addressed in multiple interdisciplinary studies on humor and the law (e.g. HUMOR's special issue 'The Difficulty of Judging Jests,' 35.3, 2022).

The fruitful exchanges generated by the 'Humor and the Law' panels at ISHS 2022 and 2023, alongside the rapid growth of the international platform ForHum: Forum for Humor and the Law, confirm the increasing interest in these topics. Building on this existing network, our Special Interest Group aims to promote collaborative research and outreach activities bridging humor studies with legal scholarship and practice. Our focus is not limited to legal issues concerning humorous expression, but also extends to the analysis of humor within and about the law.

Contact: Alberto Godioli or Laura E. Little

This SIG studies humor that emerges in online contexts. The internet has increasingly become a venue for generating and reproducing humor. It has had an impact on the content and form of humor, the ways it spreads, and as well as on the reception of humorous messages. The SIG addresses important questions like the globalization / localization of humor, interactional aspects (e.g. asynchronicity) and metapragmatics of creating and sharing humor, the relationship between humor and hate speech, different genres of online humor, etc. The group aims at connecting researchers from different countries and disciplinary backgrounds. The collaboration within the group is focused on developing new interdisciplinary methodologies and giving an impulse to initiate joint research projects. The group welcomes everyone interested in online humor, and encourages students and early career researchers to join.

Contact: Liisi Laineste or Anastasiya Fiadotava

Business and Media
The Business and Media SIG brings together academic and business leaders who have a shared interest in understanding how humor is used within commercial settings. How humor is placed within a commercial setting has been widely studied. Spotts et al. (1997) stated that up to 30% of all US advertising spend is focused on messages with a humorous content. The Business and Media SIG will seek to understand these drivers and create a forum whereby business leaders and academics can understand the latest trends and developments in the use of humor, thereby driving academic study into the subject. The Business and Media SIG brings together business leaders and academics on a regular basis to explore areas of mutual understanding and exchange knowledge. The Business and Media SIG will further work to improve the understanding of the changing challenges of how media and business use and engage with humor, for example, in relation to trans rights, the LGBTQ community, and race relations.

Contact: David McGee or Jonathan Sandling

Multimodal and Interactional Humor
This SIG aims at fostering discussions, research collaborations, and methodological innovation around the multimodal study of interactional humor. To do so, the SIG brings together a diverse group of scholars in online and face-to-face meetings, to facilitate the exchange of ideas, call for papers, publications, events, etc. To help members explore new research approaches and instruments, we will organize virtual and in-person events such as methodological workshops and talks, panels and work-in-progress talks. To facilitate the dissemination of findings and support research in multimodality and interactional humor across countries, we will build an online collaborative library for members to share publications or research instruments and access publications free of charge.

Contact: Elisa Gironzetti or Beatrice Priego Valverde

Performing Comedy
The Performing Comedy SIG is dedicated to ISHS members who are involved and/or interested in the comedy-creating process. This includes performers, writers, directors, producers, and animators that work in any artistic medium, genre, or style. We aim to build an international community that connects comedy practitioners and humor researchers interested in collaboration.

Contact: Craig Draheim or Alexander Sparrow

Screen Comedy: TV, Film, and Streaming
The mission of our group is to promote and advance the study of humor in cinema, television, streaming, and other media. We see this as a vehicle for those engaged in these related fields to communicate with one another and to support collaborative work between our members and the ISHS membership at large. In the service of this mission, the SIG will

Contact: William Costanzo or Terry Lindvall