Literature Program

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

UB Humanities Institute & Hallwalls present

Scholars@Hallwalls: Bill Solomon

"Black Humor and the Making of the Counterculture: Race, Madness, and American Literature in the 1960s"

Join us at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center for our ninth year of Faculty Fellows talks! This lecture series brings current UB humanities research out into the community - with complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres. Free and open to the public.

This lecture addresses the role acts of identification across racial and ethnic lines played in the construction of countercultural subjectivities in the US in the postwar era. The figure of the "white Negro" has long been recognized as a constitutive element of the beat generation's rejection in the 1950s of the status quo. Similarly, dissenting youth in the 60s coalesced into oppositional groups around the idealization of an array of exotic others. My question concerns the relation of the literary phenomenon known as black humor to such primitivist procedures. To what extent did comic writers critique the mystifications structuring the countercultural imaginary?