Jonathan A. Allan

Jonathan A. Allan is Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory and Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and English and Creative Writing at Brandon University. Dr. Allan is an editor for Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities (Berghahn Press, beginning publication in 2020), and Associate Editor of Journal of Popular Romance Studies.

In his research, Dr. Allan explores the ways in which queer theory can and should inform the study of masculinities. His first book, Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus, is a study of anality and masculinity in literary and cultural theory. With Cristina Santos and Adriana Spahr, he is a co-editor of Virgin Envy: The Cultural (In)Significance of the Hymen. Dr. Allan’s next book is titled Uncut: A Cultural Analysis of the Foreskin (University of Regina Press), which is a cultural study of the foreskin that brings together sociology, psychology, religious studies, the biomedical sciences, cultural studies, literary studies, and queer theory. Dr. Allan describes the project as follows:

To circumcise or not to circumcise? Expectant parents often find themselves tackling this question. The answer to the question is complicated by diverse medical opinions, religious traditions, and secular norms. This project sets out to understand how the foreskin is represented, theorized, and critiqued in the social sciences and humanities, in the biomedical sciences, and in policy documents of medical associations. When completed, this project will be one of the first full-length studies to consider circumcision by way of the foreskin as well as what it is, what it does, and why it matters. 

Dr. Allan is finishing his third book, Men, Masculinity, and Popular Romance (Routledge). In this book, Dr. Allan considers a range of texts, from the Harlequin romance to Fifty Shades of Grey and beyond to explore the ways in which authors represent and present the male body, ideas of masculinity, and men. In particular, this study reflects on a growing body of scholarship in men’s studies that argues the men and masculinity are becoming more fluid and more inclusive, and yet, when confronted by the popular romance novel, we see a continued interest in and desire for traditional, hegemonic, and orthodox masculinities.

With Dr. Frank G. Karioris, Dr. Allan is currently writing, The Full Package: Aesthetics, Masculinity, and the Market (University of Chicago Press), which aims to unbutton and uncover the ways that we think about, through, and with the penis as penis, rather than as phallus. This book braids together neoliberalism, aesthetics, and masculinity in the study of the penis. At bottom, The Full Package aims to provide a critique of the reliance upon the phallus to describe, represent, and theorize masculinity.

He sits on the editorial/advisory boards of Feral FeminismsJournal of Popular Romance Studies, Journal of Men’s Studies, Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericanaMasculinities: A Journal of Identity and Culture

He is Vice-President of the American Men’s Studies Association and Co-Organizer of the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Men’s Studies Association, which will take place at Brandon University.

Research and Teaching Areas:

Research Funding: Canada Research Chairs (2014-2019), Brandon University Research Committee (2014-2016; 2016-2018; 2017-2019), Romance Writers of America (2015-2016), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2016-2018)

Upcoming Public Lectures

None scheduled.



Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2016; and, London: Zed Books, 2016.

Virgin Envy: The (In)Significance of the Hymen. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2016; and, London: Zed Books, 2016. (with Cristina Santos and Adriana Spahr)

Inversions of Power and Paradox: Studies of Monstrosity. Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press, 2012. (with Elizabeth Nelson).

Special Issues of Journals

Queer/ing Popular Romance, a special section in Journal of Popular Romance Studies, 2016. (with Andrea Wood)

Schools, Masculinity and Boyness in The War Against Boys, a special section in Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8.1 (2015). (with Chris Haywood and Máirtín Mac an Ghaill). Link.

Teaching the Twilight Saga, a special volume of Monsters and the Monstrous 2.2 (2012). (with Cristina Santos and Adriana Spahr).

The Poetics and Politics of Reading: Studies in Honour of University Professors Linda Hutcheon and J. Edward ChamberlinCanadian Review of Comparative Literature / Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 38.4 (2011). (with Rachel F. Stapleton).

Select Publications (since 2014)

“Are rural Prairie masculinities hegemonic masculinities?” NORMA: International Journal for Masculinities Studies. (forthcoming, co-authored with Candice M. Waddell, Rachel V. Herron, and Kerstin Roger).

“Circumcision scars and aesthetic concerns.” Complications of Circumcision: An Illustrative Textbook. Ed. Mohamed A. Baky Fahmy. Elsevier. (forthcoming)

“‘And he absolutely fascinated me’: Masculinity and Virginity in Sherilee Gray’s Breaking Him.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies (forthcoming)

“‘The First Rip Off’: Anti-Circumcision Activism in Men’s Magazines.” Porn Studies (forthcoming)

“When Two Become One: Sexuality Studies and Critical Studies of Men and Masculinities.” Journal of Gender Studies (forthcoming, co-authored with Frank G. Karioris).

“The Foreskin Aesthetic, or Ugliness Reconsidered.” Men and Masculinities. (forthcoming).

“Is the Foreskin a Grave?” Sex at the Limit. Ed. Ricky Varghese. (University of Regina Press, forthcoming)

“Masculinity as Cruel Optimism.” NORMA: International Journal for Masculinities Studies.  (forthcoming)

“The First Great Theoretician? Northrop Frye and Literary Theory.” Canadian Review of Comparative LiteratureRevue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 44.1 (2017): 82-94.

“Grow a Pair! Critically Analyzing Masculinity and the Testicles.” Journal of Men’s Studies 25.3 (2017): 245-261. (Co-authored with Frank G. Karioris).

“The Politics of Virginity and Abstinence in the Twilight Saga.” Virgin Envy: The Cultural (In)Significance of the Hymen. Eds. Jonathan A. Allan, Cristina Santos, and Adriana Spahr. (University of Regina Press, 2016, and Zed Books, 2016): 67-96. (Co-authored with Cristina Santos)

“Sex in Hotels.” Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericana 45.2 (2016): 167-75.

“‘The Purity of His Maleness’: Masculinity and Popular Romance Novels.” Journal of Men’s Studies 24.1 (2016): 24-41. 

“Falling in Love with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 48.1 (2015): 1-16.

“Femininity and Effeminophobia in Manuel Puig’s El beso de la mujer araña.”  Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 47.3 (2014): 71-87.

Public Lectures, Professional Conferences, etc.

Invited Lectures

“Masculinity as Cruel Optimism.” Masculinity and Affect Colloquium. University of Pittsburgh, April 6-7, 2017.

“Foreskin Questions and Answers: From the Joy of Pregnancy to the Joy of Sex.” Performing the Penis. Brunel University London, UK. March 3, 2017. [Keynote]

“Man Up: Masculinity, Affect, and Gender Failure.” PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Brock University. October 6, 2015.

“Reading from Behind: Thinking Through Male/Male Romance.” Department of English at Princeton University. November 5, 2014.

“Affecting Testimony: Experiments in Pedagogy and Prose.” Em/Bodying Human Rights in Testimonio. Brock University. February 20-21, 2014.

Presentations (since 2015)

“Obtaining the Unobtainable: Researcher and Librarian Collaborations for Enhancing Access to Unconventional Information Resources.” Community, Diversity, and Education: Academic Librarianship in Challenging Times. Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians. Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Regina. May 29-31, 2018. (Co-authored with Heather Tornblom, Brandon University)

“Fantasies of Masculinity in Popular Romance Novels.” Researching the Romance Conference. Bowling Green State University. April 13-14, 2018.

“The Purity of His Maleness: On Romance Novels, Masculinity, and Heroes.” Third Age Learning Co-operative. Brandon University. April 6, 2018.

“Romancing Masculinity.” Popular Culture Association of America. Indianapolis, Indiana. March 28-31, 2018.

“Vanilla Sex as Fantasy.” American Men’s Studies Association. Minneapolis, Minnesota. March 22-25, 2018.

“Anti-Circumcision Activism in Men’s Magazines.” American Men’s Studies Association. Minneapolis, Minnesota. March 22-25, 2018.

“Are Rural Masculinities Hegemonic Masculinities?” Faculty of Health Studies Seminar Series. Brandon University. January 15, 2018. (with Candice Waddell, Rachel Herron, and Kerstin Roger)

“The Pleasures of Masculinity: On Desire, Fantasy, and Consumption.” Panel: Critical Masculinity Studies and the Question of Love. Mutual Conditions of Gender and Love. Aarhus University, Denmark. October 16-19, 2017.

“Preputial Phantasies and Missing Out in Lisa Braver Moss’s The Measure of His Grief.” Doing Sex: Men, Masculinity, and Sexual Practices. Newcastle University, July 13-14, 2017.

“Bromancing the Happily Ever After?” Performing Friendship: Homosociality and Dispossession in Gestures, Writing, and Media. American Comparative Literature Association, Utrecht, Netherlands. July 6-9, 2017.

Pleasure Advantages and the Friendly Foreskin: Discursive Analysis of the Foreskin and Masculinity in Sex Advice Literature.” American Men’s Studies Association, Ann Arbor, USA. March 30-April 2, 2017.

“Sealing the Deal: Economic Metaphors, Prosperity, and the Reproduction Industry.” The Art of the Deal: Masculinity and Prosperity. American Men’s Studies Association, Ann Arbor, USA. March 30-April 2, 2017.

“Uncut: A Cultural Study of the Foreskin.” Faculty of Health Studies Seminar Series. Brandon University. October 12, 2016.

“Circumcision as Close Reading.” Canadian Comparative Literature Association, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Calgary, Alberta. May 28-30, 2016.

“Foreskin Fantasies and Fears.” Sexuality Studies Association, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Calgary, Alberta. May 29-31, 2016.

“Decircumcision and the Pursuit of the Perfect Penis.” Masculinity, Health and Medicine, c. 1750-Present. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. April 28-29, 2016.

“Uncut: The Foreskin Archive.” American Men’s Studies Association, Ann Arbor, Michigan. March 31-April 3, 2016.

“Reading from Behind: New Directions in Male Sexuality.” American Men’s Studies Association, Ann Arbor, Michigan. March 31-April 3, 2016. (Respondent)

“Disciplining Men’s Studies: The Trouble with Interdisciplinary Research” as part of panel: “Weaving the Strands Together: Applying Interdisciplinary Approaches to Complex Gender Issues.” American Men’s Studies Association, Ann Arbor, Michigan. March 31-April 3, 2016. (Respondent)

“Protecting the American Penis: Nationalism, Circumcision, Sexuality.” Red River Women’s Studies Conference at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Minnesota. October 23, 2015.

“The Foreskin Archive: Circumcision as Biomedical and Nationalist Imperative.” Sex, Misère, and the Redemptive: Barebacking and Historicity. American Studies Association. Toronto, Ontario. October 8, 2015.

“Angry White Men and the Politics of Cruel Optimism.” Affect: Memory, Aesthetics, and Ethics. Winnipeg, Manitoba. September 18-20, 2015.

“Is the Foreskin a Grave? Biopolitics, National Security, and Population.” Sexuality Studies Association, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario. June 2-3, 2015.

“Happily Ever After’s Cruel Optimism.” Popular Culture Association. New Orleans, Louisiana, April 1-2, 2015.

“The Problem of Sex and Men’s Studies.” American Men’s Studies Association and the Centre for the Study of Men and Masculinities. New York City, New York. March 5-8, 2015


“BU Profs Score Major Research Funding.” Brandon Sun. September 10, 2016. Link.

“No buts about it, Reading from Behind prompts discussion on a taboo topic.” Regina Leader-Post. March 11, 2016. Link.

“This Professor Spent the Last Three Years Researching Butthole Culture.” Vice. February 4, 2016. Link.

“What we talk about when we talk about anal.” Dazed. February 3, 2016. Link.

“Butt seriously: Prof explores anus’ cultural history.” Brandon Sun. January 14, 2016. Link.

“BU prof to push out new book ‘Reading from Behind’ on history of anus.” Brandon Sun, Online Edition. January 13, 2016. Link.

“What we’re talking about when we talk about Justin Trudeau’s looks.” Global News. October 23, 2015. Link.

“Have Your Say: How can we raise confident and compassionate boys.” The Globe and Mail. April 2, 2015. Link.