The Combahee River Collective statement was created and written by Afrocentric black feminists who parted ways from the NBFO (National Black Feminist Organization) in order to create, define, and clarify their own politics. These women are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression.
The year-long Antiracism series, sponsored by the University of Maryland’s Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, emerged out of a commitment to act upon the university’s statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter in the summer of 2020 and to support our community under the crisis conditions of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Over the 2020–2021 school year, we held 22 virtual events that brought together scholars and teachers, students and writers from the United States and abroad. The LARB symposium “Antiracism in the Contemporary University” draws upon and extends this project, in which antiracism is the intellectual starting point for humanistic, literary, and rhetorical knowledge production — a concept with a history, a politics, and an aesthetics.