Photo of Philip Kaisary

Philip Kaisary

Assistant Professor

Degrees:M.A. (B.A.) Hons. Eng. Lit., Edinburgh; M.A. Postcolonial Studies, Sussex; Ph.D. Eng. & Comp. Lit., Warwick; G. Dip. Law & G. Dip. Legal Practice, Oxford Brookes. Registered Solicitor of England & Wales (non-practising).
Phone:613-520-2600 x 4181
Office:D485 LA (Loeb Building)

Philip Kaisary is Assistant Professor of Critical Legal, Social, and Political Theory in the Department of Law & Legal Studies, and cross-appointed to the Department of English Language & Literature and the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art & Culture (ICSLAC). His interdisciplinary research engages with legal, political, and literary theory to explore the relationship between human rights, revolution, constitutionalism, and anti-colonialism. His work traverses the subfields of Haitian Revolutionary Studies, legal history, film studies, postcolonial studies, and critical social and political theory, esp. Marxism and the Frankfurt school.

Philip’s first book, The Haitian Revolution in the Literary Imagination: Radical Horizons, Conservative Constraints was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2014. It addresses the literary impact of the Haitian Revolution of 1791–1804 from the 1930s onward. Focusing on a corpus of literary texts and cultural works produced in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, the United States, and Britain, it examines how these primary materials recuperated the Haitian Revolution from its prior denouncement as unregenerate in proslavery propaganda.

Philip’s current research comprises two projects, the first of which is a study of the creation, context, and legacies of Haiti’s constitutions of 1801–1816. This project considers how Haiti’s early constitutions speak to the complex working out of the meanings of universal freedom for Haiti’s population of former slaves and situates the genre of the modern constitution in relation to a critical geography of the Global South. Philip’s second research project currently in-progress is a comparative study of filmic representations of slavery. Works considered to date include Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s narrative, 12 Years a Slave, and La última cena (The Last Supper), a masterpiece of Cuban cinema dating from 1976 written and directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea.

Philip taught previously in the School of Law at the University of Warwick where he was also an affiliated faculty member of the Centre for Caribbean Studies and Director of the Death Penalty Project in the Centre for Human Rights in Practice.

In 2015–16, Philip was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Vanderbilt University Law School and the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.



Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • “The Haitian Revolution and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s La última cena. Haiti in the Hispanophone Caribbean Cultural Imaginary edited by Vanessa K. Valdés. Under consideration by University of Illinois Press.
  • “‘To break our chains and form a free people’: Race, Nation, and Haiti’s Imperial Constitution of 1805.” Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations, edited by Whitney Stewart and John Garrison Marks, University of Georgia Press. In-press and under contract.        

Special Issues

  • “Slavery on Screen” Special issue of Transatlantica. Co-editor. (Forthcoming).

Encyclopedia Entries

  • “The Haitian Revolution.” The Oxford Companion to Black British History, Eds. David Dabydeen, John Gilmore and Cecily Jones. Oxford University Press. 2007.

Book Reviews

  • Maria Cristina Fumagalli. On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Liverpool University Press, 2015. xviii + 430 pp. New West Indian Guide. Vol. 91, Nos. 1–2 (2017). In-press.



  • U.S.–U.K. Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award (2015–16). 12-month fellowship held at Vanderbilt University.