Misha McDaniel

Misha McDaniel
Cohort Year: 2021
Subject Area: Black Studies
Research Interests: 21st Century African-American Literature, Speculative Literature, American Popular Culture, Caribbean Literature
Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in English and Africana Studies


I am a second year English Ph.D. student in the Black Studies cohort. I am also a fiction writer, actor, and digital illustrator. By adopting a Black feminist approach that emerges from my readings of a host of thinkers such as Michelle M. Wright, Zenzel Isoke, Saidiya Hartman, and M. NourbeSe Philip, my work situates the story as a container for imagining new Black possibilities, a space where history, truth, and fact are stretched beyond the limits of what constitutes the “real.” Inspired by the question of who owns the future, I endeavor to think about violence within the temporal plane, considering ownership to be a relational construct while rethinking the unique role African Americans play in that state of (re-)ownership. My research seeks to answer several questions: how do African-American speculative narratives reflect the American master narrative and society in ways that are the most “unbelievable”? How does positioning memory as archive allow for the re-renderings, “re-tellings,” or “un-tellings” of Black histories and presents? How does the Black Imaginary help us to imagine Black presents and futures that do not end in extinction, that are able to exist outside of Eurocentric forms of knowledge production and outside of anti-Black capitalist conceptions of time, reality, and possibility?