About

Calling all community accountable scholars and visionary under-represented grad students!

Hey there bright thunder!

Do you ever feel isolated and misunderstood in your department? Do you ever feel that the passions that motivated you to get your degree are contradicted more and more by the process of getting there?  Do you feel like you are in limbo?  That even the well-meaning advisors around you know how to help you conform to academic standards, but can’t be accountable to the ways you want to TRANSFORM?

Never fear.  You are not alone.   As Audre Lorde famously said to an academic conference filled with feminist scholars: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”   But less people remember that immediately afterwards she reminded us that “This fact is only threatening to those who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”

Brilliance Remastered is about going beyond our critique of the master’s tools in order to cultivate the already existing tangible forms of support that can free us up to do the brilliant work we were born to do inside the academy and beyond it.

I had the miraculous experience of a wildly successful and enjoyable experience in graduate school.  I wrote, published, traveled, presented, finished in a very timely manner and was even offered some exciting and attractive tenure track jobs.  At the same time built an ecology of community institutions and autonomous community accountable intellectual projects that allowed me to freely choose to do my passionate work in the ways that would best serve my community and my vision for a transformed planet beyond the scarcity model of academic self-marketing.

I found that the key to a miraculous experience of community accountable scholarship was

  • constantly being in touch with the deeper purpose of my intellectual work
  • remaining connected and accountable to the communities that I love

Brilliance Remastered is my contribution to shifting the paradigm of what we do as community accountable scholars.   It is my intention that your experience of graduate school is not full of paranoia, proving yourself, being misunderstood and overlooked, but rather of radiant and inspiring opportunities to bring your best intellectual resources to the issues and communities you care about.   I also intend that when you finish graduate school you are not grabbing for crumbs based on what academic institution wants to hire and tokenize and overwork an under-represented person with your specialties, but rather that you will be able to choose to continue your passionate inquiry on your own terms in ways that prioritize and support strategies of power for the communities you love.

Brilliance Remastered is a wellspring for remembering that as Audre Lorde said, the master’s house is not our only form of support.  As community, we are our primary and most valuable sources of support.    Browse our webinars, one-on-one coaching offerings, blog and podcasts for resources to affirm your vision and support your growth whether you are deciding whether to go to graduate school, struggling to finish or start your thesis or dissertation, needing tools to rearticulate your purpose or to build a community of support.    I know that working with you, bright thunder aka brilliant visionaries who are ready to transform the world, will have an impact on the meaning of scholarship and the usefulness of intellectuals for generations to come.

Let’s get started!

With love,

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Alexis!

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I am a fellow Barnard & BOSS alum a year or two under you. I am currently pursuing an MBA and Masters in Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and can relate to the tensions between the ‘means’ and the ‘end’ that you describe. I look forward to reading more and contributing to this effort, which I applaud and appreciate.

    Peace & Love,
    Courtney Keene

    • Of course I remember you Courtney! Great to hear from you and keep up the good work! I’ll add you to the update list and keep you posted!
      Love,
      Lex

  2. This post intensely speaks to a position that I found myself in about 3 years ago. I was an African-American female 1st year Sociology PhD student at UW-Madison. I was excited. I was passionate. Unfortunately i was application-minded and Wisconsin Sociology is highly theoretical. But beyond that, I found myself having emotions and having to explain myself in ways that were vexing to my spirit. The theory of the damaging effects of racism, race, patriarchy, imperialism, and hegemony all mollewhopped me in a very pragmatic and hand-on way. It resulted in me losing weight which was good, but it also left me confused and not knowing where to turn. As a result, I did what i do best–I left. Initially I took a 2 year leave of absence but I never went back. Sometimes I regret it, but most times I don’t. It was where I was supposed to be, but not where I was supposed to remain.
    Thank you so much for this article.

  3. Hi Alexis! Are you in my head or walking around in my shoes? Either way, this is a lifeline that I am glad to take hold. I’m preparing for exams now…nuff said! I look forward to gleaning from you.

  4. You are amazing. It would have been so helpful for me to know and be in community with you about 10 years ago! : ) All good though. I am so happy to see that you are here and bridging such an important gap! Love and reflection and support and reminders of “why, are we doing this again..?” could never be too much. Much love to you and all the future academics who are lifted up by this community support. Happy to see you here…

  5. Alexis! This is great…you probably don’t remember me, I worked at Charis when you were doing some of your dissertation research there, back when I wasn’t considering phd programs….alas, i ended up in a doctoral program at Temple’s Sociology and am def facing all of the symptoms you described above. i am so so so grateful that a sis pointed me in this direction…you’re amazing! Cannot wait to browse all its spectacular resources, thank you thank you thank you!

  6. Thank you so much for this. I am fortunate enough to have an advisor who is extremely supportive, and constantly tries to nurture my academic, emotional, and creative growth in graduate school. Despite this, I still feel alone and frustrated far too often. Thank you for creating a resource for us, and giving all of us a chance to reach out, be heard, and to listen to others. To quote June Jordan, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

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