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Kyrah Malika DanielsAssistant Professor of African American Studies

Kyrah Malika Daniels is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. She completed her B.A. in Africana Studies from Stanford University, and earned her M.A. in Religion and her Ph.D. in African & African American Studies at Harvard University. Professor Daniels teaches courses on Africana religions and art history, material culture and museum studies, and race, religion, and representation. Her research centers on African derived religions, sacred arts, religious initiation and conversion, and ritual healing traditions in the Black Atlantic. For the 2019-2020 academic year, she was awarded a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art.

Daniels is currently completing a book tentatively titled Art of the Healing Gods: Illness, Imbalance & Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic, a comparative religion project that examines ritual art traditions and religious healing legacies of Kongo-derived communities in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). The book investigates how sacred art objects mediate relationships between humans and spirits in healing ceremonies to treat spiritual illness and imbalance holistically. Daniels' work has been published in the Journal of Africana Religions, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, the Journal of Haitian Studies, and the Journal for the American Academy of Religion.

Between 2009-2010, Daniels served as Junior Curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Following the earthquake of 2010, she worked in St. Raphael, Haiti, with Lakou Solèy Academic and Cultural Arts Center, a grassroots organization that develops arts-based pedagogy. Previously, she held the first appointment dedicated to African religious heritage traditions and African and African Diaspora art history at Boston College. Daniels currently serves as Leadership Council Member for the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association (ADRSA) and as Vice President for KOSANBA, the Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou.

Selected Publications:


Art of the Healing Gods: Illness, Imbalance & Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic (in progress).


“Mirror Mausoleums, Mortuary Arts, and Haitian Religious Unexceptionalism.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 85, no. 4 (2017): 957-984.

“She Wears the Mask: Black Atlantic Masquerade in the Work of Carrie Mae Weems.” In Carrie Mae Weems: Strategies of Engagement exhibition catalogue, eds. Robin Lydenberg and Ash Anderson. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press and McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 2018, pp. 47-56.

“Vodou, the Arts, and (Re)Presenting the Divine: A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat,” Meridians: Feminism, Race, & Transnationalism, Vol. 21, No. 1 (June 2022): 11-48.

“Vodou Harmonizes the Head-Pot, or, Haiti’s Multi-Soul Complex.” Religion 52, no. 3 (2022): 359-383.

“Whiteness in the Ancestral Waters: Race, Religion, and Conversion within North American Buddhism and Haitian Vodou.” Journal of Interreligious Studies 23 (2018): 90-102.