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Lenny Bruce, Comedy & the Constitution at Brandeis

The American Studies Program and the Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections Department at Brandeis University are pleased to announce a conference scheduled for October 27-28, 2016, to evaluate the legacy of comedian Lenny Bruce. His corrosive and transgressive satire as well as his boldness in pushing the envelope of the laws of obscenity have made him an iconic figure in American culture. In March 2014, the Special Collections Department at Brandeis University acquired Bruce’s papers from his daughter, Kitty Bruce, who is scheduled to attend the conference on campus. “Comedy and the Constitution” will coincide with the formal opening of this collection of archival material associated with the most influential American comedian of the post–World War II era.

We invite interested participants to submit proposals for individual papers or pre-constituted panels. For each paper, email (as separate attachments) a 150-200-word abstract, along with a brief biographical note, to bruceconference2016@brandeis.edu. The deadline for proposals is April 11, 2016. Topics may include but need not be limited to: the nature of obscenity; aspects of Bruce’s work (LPs, nightclubs, television, autobiography); First Amendment rights; Jewish humor; Cold War culture; the transformations of the 1960s; and Bruce’s comedic predecessors, contemporaries, and descendants.

Contact Info:

Charity Adams, Brandeis University

Email: bruceconference2016@brandeis.edu


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