Colloquium by Stephen Schryer

Friday, September 28th, 3:30pm - Tilley Hall Room 5

Cockroach Dreams: Oscar Zeta Acosta, Legal Services, and the Great Society Coalition

Oscar Zeta Acosta, best known as the inspiration for "Dr. Gonzo" in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was a California-based Chicano novelist and Civil Rights lawyer.  In 1967, he abandoned his position as a federally-funded antipoverty lawyer in order to become a Brown Power militant.  This paper explores Acosta's changing novelistic aesthetic and legal practice in the late 1960s; Acosta's novels and controversial defenses, I argue, highlight contradictions in the Democratic Party's efforts to appeal to minority communities through Great Society programs like the War on Poverty.