Rutgers hosts 'anti-racist' retreat to help poets, writers 'of color' integrate 'social justice' into work
The retreat features 'lectures that offer innovative and interdisciplinary frameworks to inspire new conversations around writing and social justice.'
One of the lecturers is Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a self-described 'Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist.'
From July 11-21, the Rutgers University Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice is hosting a virtual writing retreat for poets and scholars using an anti-racist, social justice lens.
“The workshop asks writers to interrogate the positions from which they are speaking (both as writers and as critics in response to peers’ writings), and not to presume objectivity,” the event’s web page states.
In contrast to a “traditional writing workshop,” Rutgers will “borrow the model of the anti-racist workshop that strengthens writers of color through ‘innovative reading, writing, workshop, critique, and assessment strategies.’”
Enrollees will attend three daily workshops along with occasional “lectures that offer innovative and interdisciplinary frameworks to inspire new conversations around writing and social justice.” All workshops and lectures are free.
One of the lectures will be given by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, whose bio on her private website identifies her as “a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings.”
Gumbs told Campus Reform in an email on July 6 that her lecture will be “drawing on some of the insights from Black Lesbian Feminist Warrior Poet Audre Lorde’s poetic and research practice.”
According to the Poetry Foundation, Lorde “dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.”
On her website, Gumbs also offers classes available for purchase, such as “Black Feminist Breathing.” She is also said to possess “intimate knowledge of the resilience of movements led by Black, indigenous, working class women and queer people of color.”
The university’s Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice is a self-described “conduit for new knowledge and ideas, providing opportunities for Rutgers faculty whose inquiries address racism and social inequality to work collaboratively and effect meaningful action and positive change.” The initial writing retreat took place in 2021.
Campus Reform contacted all parties mentioned for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.