Photo of Sarah Phillips Casteel

Sarah Phillips Casteel

Degrees:B.A. (University of Toronto), M.A., M.Phil. (Columbia University), Ph.D. (Columbia University)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2306
Office:201J St. Patrick's Building

Research Interests

  • diaspora and postcolonial literature and theory
  • global Holocaust studies
  • memory studies
  • hemispheric American studies

Current Research

My research interests are in diaspora and postcolonial literatures with a particular emphasis on Caribbean and Jewish writing. My most recent book, Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia UP, 2016), broadens our understanding of Black-Jewish literary relations beyond the U.S. national frame and enriches the cross-cultural project of Caribbean literary criticism. In order to further advance the emerging conversation between postcolonial and Jewish studies, I am currently co-editing with Heidi Kaufman an essay collection entitled Caribbean-Jewish Crossings: Atlantic Literature and Culture and developing a project on cultural representations of Black victims of the Holocaust.

My earlier research engaged the field of hemispheric American studies, in particular the problematic absence of Canadian writing from such discussions. To this end, I co-edited with Winfried Siemerling an essay collection entitled Canada and its Americas: Transnational Navigations (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2010). My first book, Second Arrivals: Landscape and Belonging in Contemporary Writing of the Americas (U of Virginia P, 2007), examined interconnections between nature writing and the construction of postcolonial and diasporic identities. In Second Arrivals, I showed how rural and wilderness spaces function as sites of diasporic emplacement in contemporary writing and visual art of the Americas.

I am a co-founder and co-director of CTCA: the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis (, a Carleton University Research Centre whose purpose is to foster the development of transnational approaches to the study of culture. I am cross-appointed to the Institute of African Studies and the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture and I serve on the Steering Committee of Carleton’s Migration and Diaspora Studies initiative.

Professional Honours and Awards

  • SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2017-19
  • Visiting Professor, Institut für Anglistik, University of Vienna, 2017
  • Canadian Jewish Literary Award, 2016
  • Development Grant, Carleton University, 2016-18
  • Research Award, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Carleton University, 2011-12
  • Fellow, Posen Foundation Summer Seminar, 2011
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2008-12
  • John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature, Government of Ontario, 2007
  • Carty Research Fellowship, Carleton University, 2006
  • Horst Frenz Prize, American Comparative Literature Association, 2004


Recent Publications

  • “Swan Street, Visual Memory and the Archive.” American Jewish History 101.2 (April 2017): 237-40.
  • “David Dabydeen’s Hogarth: Blacks, Jews, and Postcolonial Ekphrasis.” The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 3.1 (January 2016): 117-133.
  • “Landscapes: America and the Americas.” The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature. Ed. Hana Wirth-Nesher. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2016. 413-31.
  • “Writing Under the Sign of Anne Frank: Creolized Holocaust Memory in Michelle Cliff and Caryl Phillips.” Modern Fiction Studies. 60.4 (Winter 2014): 796-820.
  • “Port and Plantation Jews in Contemporary Slavery Fiction of the Americas.” Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. 37.1 (Winter 2014): 112-129.
  • “Calypso Jews: Holocaust Refugees in the Caribbean Literary Imagination.” Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History. 19.2 (Autumn 2013): 1–26.
  • “Sephardism and Marranism in Native American Fiction of the Quincentenary.” MELUS 37.2 (Summer 2012): 59-81.
  • “The Language of Landscape: A Lexicon of the Caribbean Spatial Imaginary.” The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature, eds. Alison Donnell and Michael Bucknor. London: Routledge, 2011. 480-89.

Recent Presentations

  • “Holocaust Memory in Caribbean and African Diaspora Literature and Art.” Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg. Berlin, Germany. June 29, 2017. (invited talk)
  • “Holocaust Memory in Caribbean and African Diaspora Literature and Art.” Vienna Center for Canadian Studies. University of Vienna. Vienna, Austria. June 19, 2017. (invited talk)
  • “African Diaspora Cultural Production and the Archive of Holocaust Memory.” ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry 10th anniversary conference. June 29-July 1, 2017. Berlin, Germany.
  • “Black Holocaust Fiction: Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues.” African American Intellectual History Society. Vanderbilt University. March 24-25, 2017.
  • “The Holocaust in Caribbean Literature and Art.” Jointly hosted by the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies and the Centre for Jewish Studies. University of Toronto, Toronto. October 20, 2016. (invited talk)
  • “Jewishness, Caribbean Literature and Hemispheric American Studies.” Association of Jewish Studies. San Diego, CA. December 18-20, 2016.
  • “Blacks, Jews and Postcolonial Ekphrasis in David Dabydeen’s Hogarth Novels.” American Comparative Literature Association. Harvard University. Cambridge, Mass. March 17-20, 2016.
  • “Caribbean Literature and Jewish Historical Trauma.” Cultural Memory Studies Initiative. University of Ghent, Belgium. April 28, 2015. (invited talk)
  • “Writing the Jewish Atlantic: Plantation Jews in Postslavery Literatures of the Americas.” MLA. Vancouver. January 11, 2015.
  • “Caribbean Literature and the Holocaust: Revisiting the ‘Black-Jewish Monologue.'” The Wiener Library, London. January 14, 2014. (invited talk)
  • “Sephardism in Caribbean Literature: Derek Walcott’s Tiepolo’s Hound.” MLA. Chicago. January 9-12, 2014.

Graduate Courses

  • “Caribbean Postslavery Literature” (University of Vienna)
  • ENGL 5004/CLMD 6102: Holocaust Representation and Global Memory
  • CLMD 6900: Research and Professional Development
  • ENGL 5004/CLMD 6102: Diaspora Theory
  • ENGL 5606: Blacks and Jews: Comparative Diasporas in Transnational Perspective
  • ENGL 5004: The Figure of the Jew in Multicultural and Postcolonial Literatures
  • ENGL 5004: Literatures of the Americas

Completed Doctoral Supervisions

  • Sarah Waisvisz (English), “Dissident Diaspora: Genres of Maroon Witness from the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean”
  • Gabrielle Etcheverry (Canadian Studies), “Cultures of Coloniality: Latina/o Writing in Canada”
  • Aliesha Hosein (English), “From Slaveships to Cruiseships: Ships, Boats and Sailing Vessels in Caribbean Literature”