Louis M. Maraj is an Assistant Professor of English, with specialties in Black rhetoric and public writing.
His scholarship spans rhetorical theory, digital media studies, Black studies, and critical pedagogies. Specifically, it engages with anti/racism, anti/Blackness, and biopolitics. His current book project, Black or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics, explores notions of Blackness in white institutional spaces. It centers Blackness in frameworks for antiracist agency in academic life, while complicating ‘new materialist’ theories through Black feminist relationality. Ongoing related projects argue for Black feminist agency in meme-making, emphasize the palatability of antiBlack violence in sport industry, consider the ‘new Afrocentrism’ of the Black Lives Matter movement, and—with Pritha Prasad (Kansas)—theorize racist technologies of whiteness in disciplinary knowledge-making. Maraj’s most recent work can be found in Precarious Rhetorics (OSU-P) and Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism and is forthcoming in Women’s Studies in Communication and Self+Culture+Writing (USU-P).
In the classroom, Maraj centers students’ positional relationships to systemic power and implements popular forms of digital media communication in social justice pedagogies. By shifting marginalized literacies to the center of composition classrooms and rhetorical theory, his teaching—like his research—seeks inclusionary spaces for minority identities within educational systems, while remaining cognizant of accommodation politics.
With Khirsten Scott, Maraj is the co-founder of DBLAC, a digital and in-person mentorship network of Black scholars in fields studying language. He continues years of social justice work with youth of color beyond the university through the Justice Scholars program in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood and through Change Pittsburgh (chgpgh.org), an archive of student social justice writing about the city’s various communities. Learn more about his past and ongoing projects here.