A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Lou Maraj, PhD, is an antiracist scholar and educator. His work asks the key question: How do Black people make everyday meaning in an antiBlack world?
An assistant professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, Maraj thinks through how Black people communicate and how their environments affect them in struggles against injustice. His first book, Black or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics, explores the ways Black folk deal with racism at white educational institutions (and beyond) in the age of #BlackLivesMatter. It complicates our views of university spaces and the social ‘good’ of diversity and other policies in them. Other projects look at how digital memes work to shape racial identity, the ways #BlackLivesMatter is changing how we think about Black resistance, and antiBlackness in sport. Recent work can be found in Precarious Rhetorics and Prose Studies.
Maraj has taught (and teaches), a range of courses to various populations—including high-school, undergrad, and grad students—since 2010. These include classes and workshops on rhetoric, composition, poetry, social justice writing, digital media, Black studies, and literature. In the classroom, he also studies and teaches about using social media writing for antiracism.
Maraj is co-founder of Digital Black Lit & Composition (DBLAC), a national support network of Black graduate students studying language. He has worked extensively with youth of color, including through Pitt-Assisted Communities and Schools’ Justice Scholars programs and Ohio State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (Upward Bound and Young Scholars programs). He is an award-winning poet, whose work has appeared on the Academy of American Poets website and in several other print and online publications, most recently in Unsplendid, The Potomac Review, and Rock & Sling.