Louis Maraj

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Assistant Professor

Biography

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Louis M. Maraj thinks/creates/converses crossdisciplinarily with theoretical Black studies, rhetoric, digital media, and critical pedagogies. His scholarship specifically addresses anti/racism, anti/Blackness, and expressive form. Maraj’s Black or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics (USUP 2020) explores notions of Blackness in historically white institutions. It asks how those racially signifying “diversity” at these institutions make meaning in the everyday, performatively arguing that Black folk must continuously invent “otherwise” in reiterative escape from their oppressive spaces. Other projects question dominant frames of antiracist thought, analyze Black feminist meaning-making in digital memes, critique epistemic violence in rhetoric and writing studies, and navigate the ‘new’ Afrocentrism of the Black Lives Matter movement. Maraj’s most recent essays can be found in Precarious Rhetorics (OSUP 2018), Prose Studies (2019), and Women’s Studies in Communication (2020), while forthcoming work will appear in a range of rhetoric/writing studies spaces—like Self+Culture+Writing (USUP)—and interdisciplinary fora—such as The Routledge Handbook of Police Brutality in America

In the classroom, Dr. Lou engages fellow participants’ lived experiences in dialogic knowledge-making, attempting to destabilize boundaries across received genres (of expression and being), infrastructural spaces, and media. 

With Khirsten Scott, Maraj co-directs DBLAC, a support network for emerging Black scholars in fields related to language. He continues years of social justice work with Black youth—in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood through Justice Scholars—and with Pitt students—through Change Pittsburgh, a student-writing archive. For freely available antiracist learning/teaching material, see loumaraj.com