Dr Jason Allen-Paisant

Dr Jason Allen-Paisant


I am Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Languages, Cultures & Societies. My research is mainly on performance studies in relation to the African diaspora, but the methodologies are interdisciplinary, combining philosophy, poetics, theatre studies, and the History of ideas.

Research interests

My research considers the ways in which key categories of Western epistemology (the human, the self, identity, consciousness, etc.) are intertwined with (both shaping and reflecting back) the history of modern Western imperialism. This focus is tied to my interest in modes of embodied performance in the history of the African diaspora and how these function as counterforces to colonial violence and to the metaphysics of Western humanism. My published and forthcoming work can be found in several international peer-reviewed journals, including Callaloo, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

In my current work on performance, I am interested in the phenomenon of ritual possession (specifically in the context of Haitian vodou and similar Afro-Caribbean practices) and how it functions in two interconnected ways: 1) as a mode of existing that sheds light on the workings of colonial power and its bio-ontological effects and 2) as a corrective mode of thought and being whose drive is to neutralise the knowledge structures that ground imperialism. I explore this question through both theatre/performance and poetics.

A part of my Leverhulme project is the conference ‘Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures’ (31 August-2 September, 2018), that brought together scholars and artists to 'reflect on how spaces and modes of performance are being used to energise both the particular and the entangled concerns of aesthetics, politics and epistemology within the memories linked to African-Atlantic colonialism and slavery'. More information can be found here.

I was the commissioned translator of Christian Biet and Christophe Triau’s highly influential book Qu’est-ce que le théâtre?, published by Routledge (February 2019) under the title What is the Theatre? I am also a poet. My narrative poem “Un-Dad Elegy” was recently published in Callaloo. My poetry has previously been published in sx salon, The Cossack Review and POUI.

Since May 2017, I've been a contributing and advisory editor for Callalooone of the longest continuously running African American literary magazines, and I am the guest editor of one of its upcoming special issues entitled Misperformance: Staging Law and Justice in the African Diaspora.

<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)