Dr. Daniel B. Coleman, PhD (he & they)

Artist-Scholar. Cultural Worker. Educator. Black Transfeminist

Ordained Priest of Obatala in the Lukumí tradition 

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

I am an internationally-recognized artist-scholar, cultural worker, educator, and Black healing arts practitioner. I am an Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University. I believe in the ongoing decolonization of  intellectual and artistic labor as tools to critically engage our worlds. I also strive to nurture  paths  that gift us the insights of a life of the mind and that ground us in the  pedagogical prerogative of naming our world as it is. To understand my intellectual-creative praxis, I recommend reading Dr.  Katherine McKittrick's Dear Science and Other Stories  and listening to/reading the words/conjure of  Dr. Bayo Akomolafe

I think with my body and I move with my mind, treating all of my work as embodied praxis. The work you will see on this site reflects my knowing that the body is a sacred channel and source of information about the worlds we move in. As a lifelong artist, I never sideline artistic practice and expression but rather, I foreground it as a place from which to know, experience, and offer to the world. 

Where I know from: I am a mixed-Black, queer and non-binary transmasculine person. 

I center Blackness and the African diaspora in all of my work.  Alongside this love/freedom praxis, I also center Indigenous people  and people of color. Additionally, I  pour love into all that is queer/cuir, in its many cosmologies. Within this vision, I  remain an open collaborator on artistic, intellectual and justice projects, primarily in the U.S. South and in Abya Yala (aka Latin America). Of my primary partnerships for collaborative work is  Acorn Center for Restoration and Freedom where I am a Co-Chair of the Board. 

Languages: I operate fluently in English (native language) and Latin American Spanish (acquired language), and intermediate Brazilian Portuguese. 

Scholarly Praxis

I have a PhD in Performance Studies from the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2017). 

I received my MA in Theatre Arts from San José State University in 2011, a Bilingual (Spanish), Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) K-8 credential from NHU in 2010, and a  BA in Latin American Studies from California State University, East Bay in 2008. 

My current book in-process, Trans Ecologies at the End of the Human, develops a Performance as Research praxis for somatically witnessing  pluriversal worlds. I do this through understanding the complex layers of cultural and and spatial geographies in the contexts of the U.S. South and in the Mexican South as witnessed by trans embodiment and sensed through Afro-diasporic and Native/Indigenous cosmologies. More on this and my other areas of interest/inquiry under Scholarship


Artist Praxis

I am a performance artist, installation artist, dancer and choreographer. 

I had a childhood professional career in dance where I trained and performed for eighteen years in classical ballet (primarily Cecchetti with some Vagonava), modern dance (primarily Graham and Limón with some Horton), and contemporary ballet and modern fusions. I also studied Russian character dance, and Spanish flamenco. I also trained and performed in semi-professional performance salsa. Today I most enjoy modern dance, Orisha dance, salsa and Latin dance fusions, and West African dance. 

I went on to politicize my artistic practice, developing and training in dance-theatre for social justice and radical performance art. The combination of these artistic experiences has led to my practice today. 

Today: I articulate my body as a physical medium for story sharing, transfer, and as a container for larger social bodies. Through physical movement and intentional stillness, I use embodiment practices as a form of artistic mediumship to both channel and transform energies surrounding the social-political landscapes in which I traverse. I create experiences of ritual that require rigorous engagement with the performer and with fellow witnesses, inviting audiences to leave with traces and hauntings that welcome other modes of being in the world and in relation to one another.  I am deeply invested in caring for my  body and those of his audiences through all of my work. 

I have worked as a performance artist as a member of collectives and duet projects (including three years as a core troupe member of La Pocha Nostra).  As a performer and artistic pedagogue, I have taught and performed in various institutional and autonomous spaces throughout México, the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Costa Rica, Brasil, Colombia, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Poland, and Estonia. 



Towards Other Worlds 

Historically, my work in community has been grounded in accompanying processes aligned with abolition, transfeminism, anti-racism, freedom of movement, LGBTQ+ liberation, and decolonization (as ongoing and incomplete processes) situated in global struggles for dignified live. Rather than frame this work through the lens of "justice," because of its historically semiotic relationship to laws and legality, I imagine this work as being in the service of bringing the plurality of our worlds into fruition, in abundance. I also imagine this work as participating in undoing the violence legacies of liberal humanism.  

Internationally, I have collaborated with multiple feminist organizers and organizations in the context of Chiapas, México to stage public interventions to denounce feminicide and transfeminicide violence met with impunity.The work involved designing rituals for public mourning that simultaneously held the state accountable. I  helped to begin the first major coalition among lesbian and trans feminists in the state of Chiapas and in México. 

In the context of the U.S. South, I have worked with organizations trying to end the criminal system of money bail that keeps Black and brown people disproportionately imprisoned. 

The lessons of organizing towards the livelihoods that we deserve and countering the cisheteropatriarchal global capitalist system are part of the heartbeat of my way of thinking and being in the world. 

Presently, (2020, onward), I no longer position myself on the frontlines of political protest work and mobilization. I understand my role now and into the future as healing practitioner for those who are on the frontlines and for those who are simply trying to thrive in systems that were not built for us. I use movement healing work to accompany processes of bodily emancipation for those in my communities. It is part of how I serve my people. In the near future, I will also be offering spiritual readings to help guide others in their processes of healing and transformation. 

Cultural Work: Also, as a cultural worker, I use writing for mainstream audiences (forthcoming) and artistic projects (forthcoming) to continue to generate the worlds we want to see and to leave traces that say, YES, WE EXISTED. 


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