Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Alexis Pauline Gumbs is the author of M Archive: After the End of the World and Spill Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity and the co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines.
As founder of the academic support platform, Brilliance Remastered, Alexis has supported a generations of under-represented scholars, artists and organizers to do their most purposeful work in ways that impact their communities of accountability.
Alexis has been recognized as one of Utne Readers 50 Visionaries Transforming the World, Advocate Magazine’s 40 under 40, Colorlines 10 LGBTQ Leaders Transforming the South and most ostentatiously a glitter Too Sexy for 501-C3 Trophy in acknowledgement of her paradigm shifting relationship to funding, community participation and autonomy.
Alexis identifies as a queer black trouble-maker and black feminist love evangelist. She lives in Durham, NC.
Black Feminist Breathing
Based on “Black Feminist Breathing” (a collection of guided meditations that are being used around the world right now), Alexis creates interactive lectures and workshops designed to transform self-care into a rigorous intergenerational practice of breathing. These experiences offer participants the opportunity to learn about key Black feminist historical figures based on Alexis’s archival research, create their own accessible re-centering practices and to rededicate their breathing to their own highest purpose.
The Time of the Silence Breaking: Creating Futures Free from Sexual Violence
Based on her role as co-founder of UBUNTU a women of color survivor-led coalition to end gendered violence in Durham, NC, Alexis offers visionary keynotes and workshops for communities and organizations committed to ending sexual and gendered violence. Building on her science-fiction short story “Evidence,” Alexis models a multi-generational approach to embodied liberation. She is especially committed to doing this work with the workers and organizers engaged in the daily work of responding to and preventing sexual and gendered violence.
Brilliance Remastered: Beyond the Academic and Non-Profit Industrial Complexes
After earning her PhD at Duke University, Alexis turned down multiple tenure-track job offers in order to create a community accountable intergenerational intellectual practice. She has sustained a transformative educational institution for more than a decade without 501-C3 status. In her Brilliance Remastered lectures and workshops, inspired by Audre Lorde’s essay “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Alexis offers lived experience and crucial analysis for scholars whose work exceeds the boundaries of academe, organizers whose passion defies the cycles of foundation funding and more.
Generative Apocalypse: Community Accountability After the End of the World
The apocalypse is not new. For oppressed communities the idea of apocalypse is not even futuristic, it is historical. The systemic world-ending survived by communities of struggle has generated robust definitions of community, freedom and power. Building on her book M Archive: After the End of the World. Alexis leads interactive oracle lectures designed to help gatherings, organizations and institutions honor their resilience and lay internalized oppression to rest, and build the futures we deserve.
Revolutionary Mothering and Daughtering
As co-editor of the anthology Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines Alexis has been part of a movement to make the intimate scale of world transformation visible and to argue for a definition of mothering that goes beyond binary gender and destroys patriarchy. In custom interactive lecture and workshops Alexis draws on the theoretical and practical insights into the gendered labor of keeping each other alive.
Custom Oracle Lectures and Performances
Before and after everything Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet. Through her writing she creates ceremonies through which liberation becomes more imaginable and tangible than is legal in our lifetimes. Alexis is available to draw on that ongoing practice to create specific lectures, performances and experiences that speak to the organizational, collective, or historical breakthrough your organization or gathering is facing.
Other topics may also be available on request!
“My students entered their senior seminar in women's, gender and sexuality studies so burdened by the knowledge they'd gained about the scaffolding of injustice that undergirded their lives and their relationships. When they met Alexis Pauline Gumbs and her work of fighting back by claiming Black brilliance and marshaling Black love -- it was a revelation. We have to move toward the lives we want every day, rather than just tear down. In Gumbs' work, they saw a concrete pathway to this, and began to re-imagine their resistance, and their lives. Many of them (myself included) are living much more interesting and impactful lives because of her incredible spirit, practice, and your generosity with all of us.” - J’aime Grant Kalamazoo College and Transformations Consulting
"One of the gifts of being in a workshop with Alexis is the gift of being heard. Alexis does this through hearing your words and hearing/seeing the currents that move through them. This is not something quantifiable or measurable - and yet its impact is immeasurable, most of all because it deepens your ability to hear yourself." - Will McAdams, Hampshire College
“When I think of Alexis, I think of how anything can be turned into an oracle, or a tool for divination. I think about how there are messages all around us just waiting to be received. I think the same is true for knowledges. They can be attained and drawn just as organically as turning to a page in her book Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity or choosing a letter in an Audre Lorde poem; the possibilities are endless, the answers within reach. I think about her enduring love for queer Black Feminists and her deep engagement with archival work that allows for people’s words to live on and touch new lives, and new generations. And, isn’t that legacy?” - Tina Zafreen Brilliance Remastered Participant
Past Talks and Workshops
- Affect & Audience in the Digital Age: Activist Poetics-University of Washington, Feb. 3 2017
- Revolutionary Mothering and Queer Survival–University of Washington Law School, Feb. 6, 2017
- Alexis DeVeaux and Alexis Pauline Gumbs in Conversation-Western Washington University, Feb. 19, 2017
- Afro-Futurism and Black Feminist Possibility, Hayti Heritage Center, March 18, 2017
- No Legacy Let Go: Ritual Screening at Lawrence University, May 31, 2017
- Breathe Underwater: Memory Magic and Your Manuscript (at the Hobart Festival of Women Writers), Sept. 9, 2017
- Nikki Finney in Conversation with Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Durham NC, Sept. 14, 2017
- the black oceanists: underwater oracle (at UNC Chapel Hill), Sept. 11, 2017
- Singing of a New American: Pauli Murray’s Legacy and Justice in the 21st Century (Howard Law School), Sept. 15, 2017
- Libation Oracle: Great Mother Celebration (Lexington, KY), Sept. 23-24, 2017
- Song in a Weary Throat: Honoring Pauli Murray at Barnard College, Sept. 25, 2-17
- Divine Listening: Poetics and Practice (Workshop at Princeton), Sept. 28, 2017
- Black Arts International: Temporalities and Territories, Northwestern University, Oct. 9-14, 2017
- Divine Memory: The Laurie Carlos Oracle (University of Minnesota)
- Combahee’s Daughters: American Studies Association (Chicago, IL), Nov. 10, 2017
- NWSA: 40 Years After Combahee: Feminist Scholars and Activist Engage the Movement for Black Lives, Baltimore, MD., Nov. 8, 2017