Lisa Downing

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Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing (/ˈdnɪŋ/; born 1974) is an author and academic. She is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham.[1]

Downing's work is innovative in its dialogue between the critical humanities and the sciences, especially psychiatry. Her published work focuses principally on theories of sexual perversion and queer theory; the work of Michel Foucault; ethical philosophy and film; and, most recently, the cultural meanings of criminality.

Background and career[edit]

Downing trained in Modern European Languages and Literatures at the Universities of London and Oxford. She took up a Lectureship at Queen Mary, University of London in 1999, where she was promoted to Reader in 2005. She was appointed to a Chair at the University of Exeter in 2006, at the age of 31.[2] In 2012, Downing moved to an established Chair at the University of Birmingham.

She is one of co-organisers of the interdisciplinary seminar series "Critical Sexology".


Downing received a 2009 Philip Leverhulme Prize, a prize "awarded to outstanding scholars under the age of 36 who have made a substantial contribution to their field of study, are recognised at an international level, and whose future contributions are held to be of correspondingly high promise."[3]


Books as author:

  • Desiring the Dead: Necrophilia and Nineteenth-Century French Literature (Oxford, EHRC, 2003)
  • Patrice Leconte (French Film Directors Series; Manchester University Press, 2004)
  • The Cambridge Introduction to Michel Foucault (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  • Film and Ethics: Foreclosed Encounters (co-authored with Libby Saxton; Routledge, 2009)
  • The Subject of Murder: Gender, Exceptionality, and the Modern Killer (Chicago University Press, 2013)[4]
  • Fuckology (Chicago University Press, 2014) co-authored with Iain Morland and Nikki Sullivan, a critical analysis of the legacy of psychologist and sexologist John Money.[5] New Scientist described the book as "ably capturing" Money's story[6] while Susan Stryker described the book as a "careful, critical and nuanced" analysis of Money's career.[5]

Books as editor:

  • Currencies: Fiscal Fortunes and Cultural Capital in Nineteenth-Century France (with Sarah Capitanio, Paul Rowe and Nick White; Peter Lang, 2005)
  • Perversion: Psychoanalytic Perspectives/ Perspectives on Psychoanalysis (with Dany Nobus; Karnac Books, 2006)
  • Birth and Death in Nineteenth-Century French Culture (with Nigel Harkness, Sonya Stephens and Tim Unwin; Rodopi, 2007)
  • From Perversion to Purity: The Stardom of Catherine Deneuve (with Sue Harris; Manchester University Press, 2007)
  • Queer in Europe: Contemporary Case Studies (with Robert Gillett; Ashgate, 2011)


  1. ^ "Professor Lisa Downing". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Lisa Downing". Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  3. ^ "Leverhulme Prize for work on French Sexuality". 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  4. ^ "Professor Lisa Downing". Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  5. ^ a b Downing, Lisa; Morland, Iain; Sullivan, Nikki (December 2014). Fuckology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226186757. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
  6. ^ "Is sexology just too human to study?". New Scientist. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-26.

External links[edit]