Dr Jason Allen-Paisant

Dr Jason Allen-Paisant


I am a Lecturer in Caribbean Poetry and Decolonial Thought, with joint appointments in the School of English and the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies. I am also currently the Director of the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, having taken over from Professor Graham Huggan in September 2020.

I explore the ways in which Afro-diasporic artists and communities shape their futures through embodied, living philosophies. My work is deeply concerned with poetry; its embodied, spatialized, sensed ontologies; and the overlaps between poetry and philosophy. My creative writing (poetry, memoir, critical life writing) addresses issues of time, race, class, and the environmental conditions underpinning Black identity. My creative writing has appeared on The BBC, in The GuardianGranta, The Poetry Review, PN ReviewCarcanet’s New Poetries VIIICallaloo, among other places. A 2021 Irish Times and Poetry School book of the year, my book Thinking with Trees was published in June 2021 by Carcanet Press and has garnered international critical acclaim, as reflected in numerous reviews from The Guardian to Poetry Birmingham. You can read more about it in this feature by the On Being Project. My monograph Thinking with Spirits: Engaging Art and the Political through Aimé Césaire is currently under contract with Oxford University Press.

I graduated from the University of Oxford in 2015 with a DPhil in Medieval and Modern Languages and joined the University of Leeds in 2016 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. At Leeds, I serve as board member of LUCAS (Leeds University Centre for African Studies) and as member of the Leeds University Poetry Centre. I also serve on the editorial board of Callaloo: Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters.

In September 2018, as part of my Leverhulme Fellowship at the University of Leeds, I convened a three-day international and interdisciplinary conference called ‘Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures’.

I’m happy to supervise graduate research in the fields of poetry and poetics, performance studies, African diaspora studies, critical race theory, and Caribbean studies. I’m particularly interested in topics that explore the nexus between poetry, thought and knowing, and their connections to human and non-human worlds.

Research interests

Appearing soon

  • Thinking with Spirits: Engaging Art and the Political through Aimé Césaire. Oxford: Oxford University Press (65,000 word monograph, forthcoming 2023).
  • “Aimé Césaire: Possession as paradigm of consciousness.” Forthcoming in Cultural Critique.
  • "Animist time and the white Anthropocene." Forthcoming in "Animism in a Planetary Frame", special issue of New Formations, guest edited by Sam Durrant and Philip Dickinson.
  • Performing futures in the African diaspora: Time, ritual, ceremony. Forthcoming special issue of Parallax.

Creative Writing


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Doctor of Philosophy (University of Oxford)
  • MPhil (University of the West Indies)
  • BA (University of the West Indies)

Professional memberships

  • Memory Studies Association
  • Society for Caribbean Studies
  • American Comparative Literature Association

Research groups and institutes

  • French