Shawn Trenell O'Neal
Assistant Teaching Professor
Africana Studies

Office Location: Ketchum 281

Pronouns: he / him / his



Ph.D., Critical Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, 2022
M.A., History (Global), University of Colorado Denver, 2016
B.A., History; Minor, Ethnic Studies; Honors: with Distinction, University of Colorado Denver, 2012

Research Interests

Critical race and ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, social justice, Africana studies, performance studies, women of color feminisms, colonization and settler colonialism, race, sexism, feminism, gender, and queer and trans of color critiques


Center for African & African American Studies (CAAAS)
Faculty Fellow, Renée Crown Wellness Institute

Dr. Shawn Trenell O’Neal earned the distinction of being awarded the first dissertation completion fellowship from the Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS) at CU Boulder (2022-2023). He is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies, in addition to being a renowned DJ and audio producer. Dr. O'Neal is also a founding member and faculty fellow in Lyripeutics Storytelling: Remixing Our Reality Through Hip Hop Education with the Renée Crown Wellness Institute. His research includes African American studies, Africana studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, queer and trans of color critique, and women of color feminisms. Dr. O'Neal developed an interdisciplinary and intersectional theoretical concept called Audio Intersectionality, upon which he based his dissertation. Audio Intersectionality are interdisciplinary herstories and histories, active responses, self-narratives, self-defenses, traumas, and celebrations, regarding race, gender, and sexuality communicated through sound, music, and performance. The dissertation title is "Audio Intersectionality: Self-Identification Within the Processes of Interdisciplinary Explorations in Sound, Music, and Performance." Dr. O’Neal’s work appears in Routledge Handbook of Pan-Africanism (2020).

Selected Publications


O’Neal, Shawn Trenell, “Audio Intersectionality: Self-Identification Within the Processes of Interdisciplinary Explorations in Sound, Music, and Performance,” ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, to be published Spring 2023

Online Courses

Coursera: Anti-Racism III,, January 2022
Coursera: Anti-Racism II,, May 2021
Coursera: Anti-Racism I,, August 2020

Archives/Book Chapters

O’Neal, Shawn Trenell, et al. “Race and Violence.” Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology (2020). 

O’Neal, Shawn Trenell. “Pan-African Aesthetic: Pan-Africanism in Afro-Beat,” Routledge Handbook of Pan-Africanism, ed. Reiland Rabaka. (London: Routledge, 2020), 489-502.

Selected Presentations & Performances

Pulsing Equis: a multimedia performance exposing society's control of marginalized peoples (2022, December 9). Performer & contributing creative in collaboration with Lau Malaver. The Atlas Black Box B2 Center for Media, Arts, & Performance, CU Boulder, Boulder, CO.

Pulsing Equis (2021, October 29). Performer & contributing creative in collaboration with Lau Malaver. Recorded Performance in Untitled Creative Fusions “The Spirit Survives” event at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO.

Racial Equity Challenge 2021 Conference, Lead Facilitator, March 5, 12, 19, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder, Institute of Cognitive Science, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee.

Audio Intersectionality Distinguished Speaker Zoom Presentation: Drexel University’s Board of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Ethnic Studies: Thursday July 9, 2020, 3-4:30 MST.

Audio Intersectionality & Recovecos Performance (2020, January 8) Collaboration with Lau Malaver, Live performance at Imagined Borders, Epistemic Freedoms: The Challenge of Social Imaginaries in Media, Art, Religion, and Decoloniality Conference. Center for Media, Religion, and Culture; Williams Village Center, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO.

Audio Intersectionality Performance: Re-Sounding and Africanizing Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (2019, April 24). Live turntablist scoring of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis performed at the Boulder Fiske Planetarium, illustrating the deconstruction/reconstruction of a German expressionist, pre–National Socialist film utilizing an art form and aesthetic that is a product of the African/Atlantic diaspora.