Dancing with the Pluriverse - Dr. Coleman

Dancing with the Pluriverse: Transfeminist Praxis for Black and Brown Liberation

Dancing with the Pluriverse - Dr. Coleman

by Katelyn Moore

Dancing with the Pluriverse: Transfeminist Praxis for Black and Brown Liberation  
Dr. Daniel Ìgbín’bí Coleman (he/they) describes themselves as a transdisciplinary organic intellectual, an artist-activist, a Black transfeminist, a teacher, and a practitioner of the Black healing arts justice movement. Among the many areas of his work are decolonial scholarship, performance art, and activism. He is an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University and an Affiliate Faculty of Africana Studies.   

The talk centered around Dr. Coleman’s debut book Refusals and Reinventions: Engendering New Indigenous and Black Life Across the Americas and was followed by a Q&A.  

During his lecture, Dr. Coleman explained his concept of the pluriverse, which theorizes the existence of “a world where many worlds fit.” This stems from the Zapatista (an indigenous, left-wing party in Mexico) ideal of “un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos,” which emphasizes human and global interdependency. The pluriverse is a refusal of the Eurocentric, colonial conditioning that there is only one world. Dr. Coleman notes the vitality of using the language refusal rather than resistance to always center what is important rather than to center oppressive systems. Grief of ancestral loss is something that connects all those that refuse; thus, grief and its manifestation as anger acts as an entrance into the pluriverse.  

Dr. Coleman also provided insight and reflection into their spiritual activism and involvement in communities in North Carolina and in Chiapas, Mexico to illustrate his understanding of the pluriverse and its innerworkings. In North Carolina, Dr. Coleman worked with organizations trying to end the criminal system of money bail that keeps Black and brown people disproportionately imprisoned. As part of the criminal justice system, money bail is something that must be paid before a person is let out of prison; often, the people held in jail are usually innocent or kept for petty crimes and the fees are extreme, which disproportionately keeps Black and Brown and lower-income people in jail. In Chiapas, Mexico, Dr. Coleman worked with organizations to stage public interventions denouncing femicide. Femicide is the extreme violence and killing of women and girls, and there is an increasing rate of femicide in Mexico. Details of these experiences and others can be found in Dr. Coleman’s book Refusals and Reinventions: Engendering New Indigenous and Black Life Across the Americas.  

His advice for students is to stay true to what feels right for oneself despite the approval or disapproval of others. He also paraphrases Toni Morrison to note that fighting racists and transphobes is a distraction from one’s work, and that instead what is important is to focus on living with integrity and taking good care of oneself.  
You can learn more about Dr. Coleman and his work here, and you can learn more about the event here.