Skip to main content
School of English and Drama

Dr Sam McBean, BA (McGill) MSc (LSE) PhD (Birkbeck)


Reader in Gender, Sexuality, and Contemporary Culture

Twitter: @s_mcbean


I am originally from Toronto and did my BA in Women’s Studies at McGill University in Montreal. I then moved to London to study for my MSc in Gender at the LSE and went on to complete my PhD in English at Birkbeck, University of London. I joined QMUL in 2014, having previously been a Lecturer at Birkbeck and a Visiting Fellow at the LSE’s Gender Institute.

I am a founding member and current Chair of the Sexual Cultures Research Group in the School of English and Drama:

I tweet @s_mcbean

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH293: The Long Contemporary
  • ESH393: Feminism(s)
  • ESH6037: Thresholds of America: The Spatial Imaginary in American Fiction since 1930

Postgraduate Teaching

I have also taught on:

  • ESH7057: Queer Theory and Contemporary Fiction


Research Interests:

  • Sexuality and gender
  • Feminist and queer theory
  • Contemporary American literature
  • Popular culture
  • Affect and digital technologies

Recent and On-Going Research

My work is situated in feminist and queer theory, focused on contemporary literature, media, and culture. I have a particular interest in exploring questions of time and narrative. My first monograph, Feminism's Queer Temporalities, explores popular feminist genres from the 20th and 21st centuries, insisting that they contain models of time that resist the dominant wave or generational model of time. Since the monograph project, my research has taken me in a number of different directions, including articles which re-visit the link between sexuality and narrative via a number of contemporary popular cultural texts, as well as articles which use theories of queer time to think about new media and digital technologies.

In 2019/2020, I was based at Humboldt University, Berlin, as a Humboldt Foundation Research Fellow. While there, I was exploring the promise of network imaginaries for queer intimacies. This research has been published as two articles: ‘The Queer Network Novel’ in the journal Contemporary Literature and ‘Circulating Desire: Queer Network Aesthetics’ in the Feminist Media Studies.

I am currently working on a new project on ‘Queer Death’, which aims broadly to consider the specificities of death, dying, and grief for LGBTQ people. The project is partly an exploration of queer writers and artists’ experimentation with their experiences of death and mourning, alongside autoethnographic research into the emergent profession of ‘death doulas’, and particularly what death doulas might offer to LGBTQ people.




Feminism's Queer Temporalities (Routledge, 2016)


‘Circulating Desire: Queer Logistical Aesthetics’, Feminist Media Studies (published online August 2022, print version forthcoming)

‘Feminist Diagrams’, Feminist Theory, Special Issue: Remembering Theory Forward (ed. by Shelley Budgeon and Lucy Nicholas), 22.2 (2021), 206-225

‘Coda: Forms of Queerness’, Comparative American Studies: An International Journal, 17.1 (2020), 101-105

‘The Queer Network Novel’, Contemporary Literature, 60.3 (2019), 427-452

’The Face as Technology’ (co-authored with Zara Dinnen), new formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory & Politics 93 (2018), 122-137

‘“We Fuck and Friends Don’t Fuck”: BFF Narratives and Lesbian Desire’, Textual Practice, Special Issue: Feminist and Queer Narratology, 32.6 (2018), 957-972.

‘The “Gal Pal” Epidemic’, Celebrity Studies Forum, 7.1 (2016)

'The Gamble of Reproduction: Conceiving Ada’s Queer Temporalities', Studies in the Maternal, Special Issue: Non-Reproduction, 6.1 (2014), 1-16

'Remediating Affect: “Luclyn” and Lesbian Intimacy on YouTube', Journal of Lesbian Studies, Special Issue: Transnational Lesbian Cultures, 18.3 (2014), 282-297

'Feminism and Futurity: Revisiting Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time', Feminist Review, 107 (2014), 37-56

'Seeing in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home', Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture and Media Studies, 28.3 84 (2013), 103-123

Book Chapters

‘Queer Feminism’, in The New Feminist Literary Studies, edited by Jennifer Cooke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020)

‘Digital Intimacies and Queer Narratives’, in New Companion to Theories of Narrative, edited by Zara Dinnen and Robyn Warhol (Edinburgh University Press, 2018)

‘The Feminist 1970s’, in American Literature in Transition, 1970-1980, edited by Kirk Curnutt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

‘Feminist Temporalities’, in Gender and Time, Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbook, edited by Karin Sellberg (Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference, 2016, 2018)

'Being "There": Contemporary London, Facebook, and Queer Historical Feeling’, in Sex, Time, and Place: Queer Histories of London c.1850-present, edited by Simon Avery and Katherine M. Graham (Bloomsbury, 2016)

'What Stories Make Worlds, What Worlds Make Stories: Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake', in A Handbook of Feminist Theory, ed. by Mary Evans et al. (SAGE, 2014), pp. 149-162

'Dragging Antigone: Feminist Re-Visions of Citizenship', in Beyond Citizenship?: Feminism and the Transformation of Belonging, ed. Sasha Roseneil (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 21-38

Creative Non-Fiction

‘Watching Working Girls by Lizzie Bordon’, Culture Club: Club des Femmes, February 2022,

‘Bent out of shape’, The White Review, May 2020,


I would welcome enquiries from potential PhD students about any aspect of my research.

Public Engagement

I recently was a contributor on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Analysis’. The episode, ‘Love Island, dating apps and the politics of desire’ (broadcast 28 May 2019), can be heard here:

I have been involved in curating public events that celebrate feminist work, in partnership with publishers and art spaces. I worked with The Showroom Gallery in 2015 to organize an event on feminist filmmaking since 1970, which involved a panel discussion and the screening of Kate Millett’s Three Lives (1971) alongside Sharon Hayes’ Gay Power  (1971/2007-15). I also worked with Verso Books, organizing an event at Queen Mary in to celebrate their reissue of Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex.


Recently, I have also participated in public events at the British Film Institute. As part of a programme on thrillers in 2017, I spoke on a panel at the event, ‘Through a Screen Darkly: Cybercrime on Screen’ and in the summer of 2019, as part of a programme on cinema of the 1990s, I chaired a panel on ‘The New Queer Cinema’.

Back to top