2016 Black New England Conference
Politically In-Correct: Humor, Satire and Black Consciousness
October 21-22, 2016
Huddleston Hall Ballroom, University of New Hampshire
Black comedians, writers and artists have historically used various modes of comedic "conjuring"— the absurd, the grotesque and the strategic expression of racial stereotypes — to critique political issues and provide social commentary on race relations in the United States.
Using comedy as the barometer for “what’s going on " around the country, this conference will explore the evolution of Black humor and offer a unique look at the bold, complex and just plain funny ways that African American artists have used satire, laughter, hyperbole and burlesque humor as tools for social and political analysis and reflection.
Comedy plays an important function in society by providing a mirror and a rhetorical middle ground for audiences to confront realities they might often prefer to ignore. For People of Color, humor also serves to neutralize the power of stereotypes that obstruct their path to equal participation in society.
Presentations and discussions will focus on four main topical areas, including: The history of African American humor; the role that gender, race and class have played in various forms of comedic expressions; the use of comedy in the current political climate; and ways in which current artists and politicians use comedy as a tool for political expression and protest.
Conference panels include:
- Black Humor: Reflections on an American Tradition
- Race, Gender and Class: Why we Laugh
- From Minstrel Shows to Stand-up: Comedians on Black Comedy
- Black Dynamite: From literature to cartoons
- Laughter Against the Machine: Current Politicians
- Black Laughter, Black Protest: Comedy and Politics
The Black New England Conference, now in its 10th year, is a regularly occurring 2-day gathering to share insights and scholarly work on the Black experience, past and present, in New England. Recent keynote speakers at the conferences have included Columnist Derrick Jackson, Actor and Activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, Director John W. Franklin, Playwright Lydia Diamond, Author Lorene Carey, and Professors James Campbell and James O. Horton, with topical presentations by professional and independent scholars, community researchers, writers, artists, and activists. The Conference is both an academic conference and a celebration of Black life and history.
The Black New England Conference is presented by the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and the Center for New England Culture.
The 2016 Black New England Conference is Sponsored by:
Eastern Bank, Delta Dental, The Springer Foundation, Bedroom Kandi, The Portsmouth Historical Society, The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, The Center for New England Culture, The Center for the Humanities, Dean's Office College of Liberal Arts, Community Equity & Diversity, Department of English, Engagement and Academic Outreach, UNH Grad School, The President's Commission for the Status of People of Color, The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Diversity Initiatives