Photo of Daniel McNeil

Daniel McNeil

Associate Professor - Africana Studies; Black Atlantic Studies; Critical Mixed Race Studies; Cultural Criticism & Theory; Decolonial Studies; Diaspora Studies; Immigration, Multiculturalism and “Race Relations”; Indigenous and Canadian Studies; Media and Cultural Studies

Phone:613-520-2600 x 2835

In 2019-20, Daniel McNeil will be the first person to hold the Public Humanities Faculty Fellowship at the University of Toronto. He brings to the position many years of experience nurturing interdisciplinary communities, fostering innovations in pedagogy, and leading public outreach work in Canada (as Associate Professor of History at Carleton University and Visiting Professor in the Department of the Humanities at York University), the United States (as Ida B. Wells-Barnett Professor of African and Black Diaspora Studies at DePaul University), and the United Kingdom (as Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Newcastle University and the University of Hull).

Two of the research projects at the intersection of environmental humanities and critical race studies that McNeil will pursue as the Visiting Public Humanities Faculty Fellow are Migration and Stereotypes in Performance and Culture (co-edited with Y. Meerzon and  D. Dean) and How Culture Lives: An Unofficial History of Multiculturalism and Shy Elitism.

The first project will address the proliferation of stereotypes that attempt to reduce and fix refugees, migrants and racialized minorities to a few, simple, essential characteristics. It draws on historically informed and forward-looking approaches to the arts, humanities, social sciences and public affairs that ask critical questions about the use of the term ‘climate refugees’ in our contemporary culture. In particular, it will demonstrate how the term ‘climate refugees’ has been used in a manner that recycles and redeploys notions of environmental determinism and a natural hierarchy of development that represented colonial Others as passive objects in need of aid, expert management, and surveillance.

The second project will demonstrate the power of history and the historical process in generating critical questions about the environmental metaphors of ‘floods’, ‘swamping’ and the ‘winds of change’ that have framed and oversimplified discussions of immigrants and immigration in the Canadian public sphere. It will draw on archival research to shed new light on three periods of Canadian history: 1971-1983 (a formative period after the official promulgation of multiculturalism); 1984-1993 (the institutionalization of multiculturalism as anti-racist and pro-business); and attempts to mobilize multiculturalism in support of national cohesion post-1993. It introduces ‘shy elitism’ as a new keyword in critical multiculturalism studies to deepen our understanding of state work that has 1) nudged and encouraged the public to defer to prominent, respectable figures in elite institutions and celebrate the recipients of ‘prestigious’ and ‘important’ awards, and 2) granted awards, credentials and patronage to ‘accessible’ work that advances ‘harmonious race relations’ by repressing material that is presumed to be too elitist, esoteric or radical for ‘ordinary Canadians.’


Recent and Current Supervisions

Supervisor. Victoria Bisnauth, “Witnessing the Violence of Modern Exile: An Examination of the Relationship Between the Image, the Spectator, and the Context of Photographs of Pain and Suffering,” Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University, 2016.

Co-supervisor. Liliane Braga. “Afrodiasporic cinematographies: Images and narratives under regimes of orality,” Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), 2018.

Co-supervisor. Jenn Ko, “Negotiating Chineseness in Diaspora: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Memory in Hong Kong and the Greater Toronto Area, 1960-2018,” Department of History, Carleton University, 2018.

Co-supervisor. William Leonard Felepchuk, “Unearthing Racial Necrogeographies in Settler Colonies: the life and death of burial places in Ontario and Virginia,” School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Carleton University. In Progress.

Co-supervisor. Diane Roberts, “Exile and Recovery in African and Indigenous Communities,” Concordia University. In Progress.