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. 

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 was the conference ‘Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures’ (31 August-2 September, 2018). More information can be found here. The conversations from that conference now form the basis of a forthcoming book titled Black Performance and the Reparative Turn.

My first book, Théâtre dialectique postcolonial: Aimé Césaire et Derek Walcott, was published in 2017 with the Éditions Classiques Garnier (see reviews in Fabula and French Studies). 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 and my poetry also appears or is forthcoming in StandPN Review and POUI.

Since May 2017, I've been a contributing and advisory editor for Callaloo, and I am the guest editor of its upcoming special issue entitled Misperformance: Staging Law and Justice in the African Diaspora.


Forthcoming Essays

"Aimé Césaire and Vodou: Un/thinking Western epistemology". Submitted to Diacritics.

"Mimesis and narrative rupture: Materializing memory in the theatre of Derek Walcott". Submitted to TDR/ The Drama Review

"Marxism, Animism and Haiti: Reading Frankétienne read Engels". Forthcoming in "Animism in a Planetary Frame", special issue of New Formations, guest edited by Sam Durrant and Philip Dickinson.

"Réalisme aliénant et théâtre de l'absurde dans Chemin de fer de Julien Mabiala Bissila: Analyse d'une mise en scène". Submitted to Présence africaine.

<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