Jonathan A. Allan

Jonathan A. Allan is Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory and Professor in English and Creative Writing at Brandon University, and teaches in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program. 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, 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, Uncut: A Cultural Analysis of the Foreskin (University of Regina Press), 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). Dr. Allan describes the project as follows,

In this project, I consider a range of texts, from Harlequin romances 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 project reflects on a growing body of scholarship in critical studies of men and masculinities that argue that 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 masculinities.

With Dr. Frank G. Karioris, Dr. Allan is currently writing, The Full Package: Aesthetics, Masculinity, and the Market, 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

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; 2018-2020), Research Manitoba (2018-2020).

Upcoming Lectures

“Mass Market Pornography: Romance Novels for Men are Different.” Popular Culture Association of America. Washington, D. C. April 17-20, 2019. 



Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2016; and, London: Zed Books, 2016. (Japanese translation appeared in 2018)

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 2017)

“The Lost Inches: Circumcision Debates in Gay Men’s Magazines.” Porn Studies. (forthcoming)

Gender and Sexuality in Popular Romance Fiction.” Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Romance Fiction, eds. Jayashree Kamblé, Eric Murphy Selinger, and Hsu-Ming Teo. (forthcoming)

“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).

“Queer Theory and Critical Studies of Men and Masculinities.” Routledge International Handbook of Masculinity Studies, eds. L. Gottzén, U. Mellström, T. Shefer. (forthcoming)

“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)

“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 Rip Off’: Anti-Circumcision Activism in Men’s Magazines.” Porn Studies 5.3 (2018): 305-319.

“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).

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 2017)

“Self-Produced Sexual Material, Archives, and Research Ethics.” Faculty of Arts Speaker Series. Brandon University. November 23, 2018.

“Reading Foreskin Quarterly.” Popular Culture Association of the South. New Orleans, Louisiana. October 4-6, 2018.

“Circumcision Scars and Aesthetic Concerns.” Faculty of Health Studies Seminar Series. Brandon University. September 19, 2018.

“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.


“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.