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Pedagogy, pleasure and the art of poking fun: Anti-colonial humour in Australian Indigenous studies

Gary Jones, Colleen McGloin


Australia’s colonial history is fraught with ongoing social injustice and can be difficult to teach.The inclusion of humour on Australian Indigenous studies courses presents both challenges and opportunities for educators in the field. Students’ reactions to the inclusion of humour are often varied and care must be taken to ensure that Indigenous histories are taught with a view to balancing pleasure in learning while maintaining a focus on content. This paper elucidates the inclusion of humour in an undergraduate course where the student cohort is primarily non-Indigenous. Drawing from a range of critical works on humour, and on the teaching experience of the authors, the paper constitutes a work in progress that seeks to contribute to a sparse body of work dealing with Australian Indigenous humour in pedagogical contexts. The paper reflects on the course in question through an examination of texts used to teach students about the effectiveness of humour and its uses and applications in teaching Australian Indigenous studies.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740