Louis M. Maraj
Research / Teaching Area
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Louis M. Maraj, PhD, thinks/creates/converses with theoretical black studies, rhetoric, digital media, and critical pedagogies. More specifically, his work addresses anti/racism, anti/blackness, and expressive form.
Maraj’s book Black or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics is winner of the 2022 Conference on College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award and the National Communication Association Critical and Cultural Studies Division 2022 Outstanding Book Award; it also received an Honourable Mention for the 2021 Rhetoric Society of America Book Award. The study explores notions of blackness in historically white institutions, asking how those racially signifying “diversity” at these institutions make meaning in the everyday.
Additionally, Maraj has been recognized with the National Communication Association Critical and Cultural Studies Division Scholar-Activist Award (2022) for social-justice-oriented community, intellectual, and pedagogical work; the Conference on College Composition and Communication 2023 Braddock Award (with co-author Pritha Prasad) for the article “‘I Am Not Your Teaching Moment’: The Benevolent Gaslight and Epistemic Violence”; the Academy of American Poets Award/Arthur Rense Prize (2016) for poetry; and a number of institutional honours and fellowships for teaching and research.
Maraj’s dozen-plus essays include studies: on rhetoric/communication in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2023), College Composition and Communication (2022), Women’s Studies in Communication (2020), among others; on media in Digital Humanities Quarterly (2022), Revista Brasileira de História da Mídia (2021), and Films for the Feminist Classroom (2021); on autoethnography in Self+Culture+Writing (2021), Precarious Rhetorics (2018), etc.; on pedagogy in A Socially Just Classroom (2022), Composition Studies (2022), and elsewhere; and on history and literature in The Routledge History of Police Brutality in America (2023) and Canadian Literature (2023) respectively.
With Pritha Prasad, Maraj is currently co-authoring the forthcoming monograph The Benevolent Gaslight: A Technology of Whiteness which examines how acts of white racial dominance are reframed for well-meaning pedagogical purposes or “teaching moments.” The book explores the application of this technology across epistemological orientations, educational history, academic disciplines, university race management, popular culture, and politics. Other ongoing projects question dominant frames with/in which to view media/communication platforms, imaginatively grapple with/theorize after the end of earth as we know it, analyze the eco-logics of antiblackness, and find anti-imperial event in Afro-Caribbean poetics.
Maraj has delivered several talks, plenaries, and conference keynotes, most recently on archipelagic blackness, antiracist thought and praxis, and the Black Lives Matter movement. These include presentations for the Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, Camp Rhetoric Lecture Series, and Associação Brasileira de Pesquisadores de História da Mídia (translated to Portuguese). Learn more about his work through interviews with Black Agenda Report and Pedagogue or at loumaraj.com.
“‘Quite here you reach’: T(h)inking Language, Place, Extraction with Dionne Brand’s Land to Light On.” Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review 251 (2023): 35-50.
“Subject to/Flesh, Object/to Verb (:) the Business of Naming.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 20.1 (2023): 47-53.
“#BlackLivesMatter” in The Routledge History of Police Brutality in America. Ed. Thomas Aiello. New York: Routledge (2023): 436-447.
“Unlike Conventional Form(s) Of: Beyond Reparative Antiracism.” Composition Studies 50.3 (2022): 40-58.
“I Am Not Your Teaching Moment: The Benevolent Gaslight & Epistemic Violence” with Pritha Prasad. College Composition and Communication 74.2 (2022): 322-351.
Black or Right: Anti/Racist Campus Rhetorics. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2020.