Daniel McNeil is an award-winning author and editor who explores how movement, travel and relocation have transformed and boosted creative development, the writing of cultural history and the calculation of political choices. Over the past twenty years, he has honed his skills as an innovative and interdisciplinary scholar, teacher and program leader in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.
As an undergraduate student in the United Kingdom, McNeil directed the Oxford Access Scheme Arts Summer School, a program that encouraged people from racialized and non-traditional backgrounds to apply to university in general and Oxford in particular. After completing his PhD in History and Ethnic and Immigration Studies at the University of Toronto, he moved back to England to become a Lecturer in Black and Minority Studies at the University of Hull and a research fellow at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, where he curated Black History Month events and initiatives in museums, universities, art galleries, schools and prisons that stimulated critical debate and collaborative action about historical and contemporary resilience and resistance to persistent anti-Black racism and xenophobia in Yorkshire.
Following the publication of Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic (Routledge, 2010), his book about prurient histories that have framed ‘mixed-race’ individuals as pathological objects and ahistorical accounts that have celebrated ethnically ambiguous individuals as ‘post-racial’ icons, McNeil was appointed the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Visiting Professor of African and Black Diaspora Studies at DePaul University in Chicago. In this position named in honour of a crusading journalist and activist, he designed and developed speaker series, community-engaged workshops, and other events that brought humanities research into the broader public realm for discussion, debate, and examination across multiple media platforms, and made space in the academy for the knowledge of communities.
As chair of the Migration and Diaspora Studies Initiative at Carleton University between 2014-18, McNeil coordinated 47 faculty from 24 different units and received University Research Awards in 2015 and 2018 for building sustained connections across Carleton and its local, national, and international partners. In 2019-20, he was the first person to hold the Public Humanities Faculty Fellowship at the University of Toronto, a position funded by the Mellon Foundation that is open to citizens of all countries who are tenured faculty members with a history of research achievement, the capacity to present their research across disciplinary and institutional boundaries, a demonstrated track record of bringing humanities research into the public realm for discussion, debate and examination, and a promise of continued excellence. In 2021, he was appointed the Queen's National Scholar Chair in Black Studies at Queen's University in recognition of his research achievements in Global Black Studies; his development of innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research programs; and his provision of rich and rewarding learning environments for students to engage the connections between the arts, social justice, decolonial thought, and practices of anti-oppression.
Professor McNeil's recent contributions to the study of migration and multiculturalism have received the inaugural Editor's Award from the Canadian Journal of Communication (for the most outstanding contribution to communication research in 2021), and an honourable mention from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research's Patrick O'Neill Awards Committee (for the best edited collection published in either English or French on a Canadian theatre and performance topic between 2020 and 2022). Thinking While Black, his forthcoming book about the political, intellectual, artistic and activist work of soul rebels, Black Atlantic intellectuals and planetary humanists over the past fifty years, will be published by Rutgers University Press and Between the Lines in the fall of 2022.