La Marr Jurelle Bruce

Assistant Professor of American Studies and Director of Graduate Studies

La Marr Jurelle Bruce is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, critical theorist, Afromanticist, and Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. At Maryland, he is also faculty affiliate in African American Studies, Theatre & Performance Studies, and Women’s Studies. Much of his scholarship concerns blackness and feeling—that is, the phenomenological, affective, erotic textures of black life across the diaspora—and how these inflect black expressive culture. More broadly, he writes and teaches about Africana literature and performance, global pop culture, disability studies, queer theory, psychoanalysis, and the art and aesthetics of quotidian black life.

Dr. Bruce is currently completing his first book project, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity, a study of black artists who mobilize “madness” in radical literature and performance. Advancing a theory of madness that captures its floating signification—and engages its phenomenological, clinical, sociocultural, and political dimensions—he confronts “the mad” in the work of Charles Mingus, Nina Simone, Amiri Baraka, Gayl Jones, Ntozake Shange, Patricia J. Williams, Lauryn Hill, and Dave Chappelle, among others.

Winner of the 2014 Joe Weixlmann Award from African American Review, Dr. Bruce has work featured or forthcoming in American Quarterly; No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (Duke University Press); Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies; and TDR: The Drama Review. Dr. Bruce’s research has been supported by fellowships from the Beinecke Library at Yale University; the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia; the Ford Foundation; the Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University; the Graduate School at the University of Maryland; the Mellon Foundation; the Social Science Research Council; and the Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement at Duke University.

His second book, The Afromantic, will generate a cultural history and theory of black joy in the midst of antiblackness.

Research Areas

  • Affect Theory
  • Africana/Black Studies
  • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Literary Theory and Criticism
  • Performance Studies
  • Pop Culture
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Queer Theory


  • Ph.D. African American Studies and American Studies (Yale University)
  • B.A. African American Studies and English & Comparative Literature (Columbia University)
La Marr Jurelle Bruce
Faculty Information
Campus Address
2324 Tawes Hall
Stay in Touch

Courses Taught