Dr. Jonathan A. Allan

Research Involves

Developing scholarship in the field of queer theory, chiefly working at the intersection of affect theory and critical studies of men and masculinities.

Research Relevance

This research expands our understanding of masculinities in literary and cultural studies by drawing on queer theory as a model through which to trouble the boundaries and to admit the complexity of our identities.

Masculinity Trouble

Man up! Real men don’t cry. Boys will be boys. What do these phrases mean? Why do we say them? Who determines who is a “real man” and consequently, who is not a “real man”? In his research Dr. Jonathan A. Allan asks timely questions about masculinities. He argues throughout his research and teaching that masculinity has become inaccessible, men are always set up for failure, and yet, we continue to cling to an ideal masculinity that nobody can or ever will achieve. He asks us to think carefully about who is “masculine” and what that masculinity might mean, what it does, and why it matters.

In his research, Dr. Allan develops new theoretical models and ideas through which to think about a range of masculinities. Dr. Allan is especially interested in thinking through the affective resonances of masculinity, the ways in which masculinities are expressed through emotions, affect, and feelings. What does it mean that “angry white men” have become a stock character? Why “anger” and who gets to be “angry”? How do we think about “effeminate masculinities” and why these make us fearful? What does a word like “metrosexual” do? What happens to rural masculinities and urban masculinities, how are these different?

Over the course of the Canada Research Chair, Dr. Allan will publish on a range of subjects: men’s health, sexuality, and bodies. Dr. Allan is the author of Reading from Behind (University of Regina Press, 2016), a study of the anus, the booty, the moneymaker, the tukhus in literary studies. Dr. Allan is currently writing a book titled, Uncut: The Foreskin Archive, a cultural study of the foreskin that brings together literary criticism, religious studies, the biomedical sciences, and critical theory.

Throughout his work, Dr. Allan challenges conventions surrounding masculinity by bringing together queer theory, psychoanalysis, and affect theory to the field of “men’s studies.”