La Marr Jurelle Bruce is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, literary and cultural critic, Black Studies devotee and Afromanticist. Bruce’s areas of interest and expertise include Africana literature and performance, U.S. popular culture, queer theory, psychoanalysis, Mad studies and the art and aesthetics of quotidian Black life. He earned his B.A. in English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University. Along the way, Bruce’s work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University, and the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, among other organizations.
Winner of the 2014 Joe Weixlmann Award for best essay in twentieth-and twenty-first century African American literature and culture from African American Review, Bruce has also published in American Quarterly, The Black Scholar, GLQ, Social Text, and other journals. His first book, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity (Duke University Press, Fall 2020), is a study of Black artists who mobilize madness in radical literature and performance. His second book project, The Afromantic, will generate a cultural history, critical theory, existential expression and matrix of Black joy and love amid anti-blackness.
Bruce’s AADHum project concerns Black joy in digital worlds. He will explore how Black joy moves and spreads virally online alongside and against representations of Black suffering that often overrun social media spheres.