Daniel Santiago Sáenz

Daniel S. Sáenz
Graduate Student Teaching Fellow Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society / Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality / Centre for the Study of Social Difference / The European Institute


Daniel S. Sáenz is a Colombian-Canadian Settler, writer, art historian, and occasional curator based in Lenapehoking (New York City) and Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal). Prior to coming to Columbia, he conducted undergraduate and graduate work at Concordia University (BA 16, MA 18), an institution located on unceded Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, who are recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters of Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal. This area is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. Today, it is home to a diverse population of Indigenous and other peoples.

Currently, Daniel is a Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University, an institution located in Lenapehoking, unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, and founded upon exclusions and erasures of many historically-marginalized, racialized, and Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land it is located. For over 10,000 years, the Lenni Lenape have been the caretakers of the lands and waters known today as New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New York. Today, the Lenape People live throughout the United States and Canada.

In addition to the Ph.D. program, Daniel is enrolled in graduate certificates in Comparative Literature and Society, Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, European Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Upon entry to the program in 2018, Daniel was awarded a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2018–2022). He is the 2019-2020 Graduate Assistant for Queer Theory: Here, Now, and Everywhere (CSSD).

Academic Statement

Under the supervision of Professor Alessandra Russo, Daniel’s research focuses on three interrelated areas: the relationship between artistic theory and European imperial expansion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the visual culture of masculinities and dissident sexualities in the early modern circum-Atlantic world; and the history, theory, and practice of Christian art. Drawing from contextual and decolonial methodologies, Daniel’s work seeks to shed light on the role of travelling artists in the construction of artistic, religious, and gender discourses at the time of Iberian imperial expansion.

Other interests include the legacy of Caravaggio in Europe and in the Americas, Latin American Theology of Liberation and its influence on the visual arts, Queer and Indecent Theology, and contemporary Latin American and Latinx art.


M.A., Art History, Concordia University (Montréal, Canada).

B.A. with Great Distinction, Honours Religion, Minor Art History, Concordia University (Montréal, Canada).


Towards a Destructive, Unmonumental, Queer Hagiography: Félix González Torres and the Spiritual-Activist Potential of Destruction.” Conexión Queer: Revista Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Teologías Queer 1 (2018): 119–144.

Curatorial Practice

I am interested in the (re)imaginning of religion and sacred (hi)stories in contemporary art. Recent curatorial projects include:

Revisiting Religion in Contemporary Art, Department of Art History’s Vitrine, Concordia University, Montréal, May-August 2017.

The Body: Religious and Sacrilegious, Z Art Space, Art Matters Festival. Montréal, March 2016.

Expand, co-curated with Edwin Isford and Terrance Richard, Galerie VAV Gallery, March 2016.

Where I'll be this Year: 

Annual Conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada / L'Association d'art des universités du Canada (UAAC-AAUC), Québec, QC, Canada, 24–27 October, 2019: “Simón Vega’s Tropical Mercury Capsule (2010): Tercermundizing Aesthetics, Reframing Modernity.”

Annual Conference of the College Art Association (CAA), Chicago, IL, U.S.A., 12 February 2020: “¿Cómo se dice «Settler-Colonialism»?: Connecting Decolonial Art Histories in Latin America and Canada.”

Masculinities in the Premodern World: Continuities, Change, and Contradictions, Victoria College, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 13–15 November, 2020: “‘For all of this he deserves to be burned’: Portraying Deviant Masculinities in the Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España