Leah Claire Allen is Assistant Professor in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) and English at Grinnell College. Her current book project In Praise of Bad Critics revisits feminist critics from the 1960s and 1970s who have been labeled “bad critics” or “bad feminists” both within and outside of feminist circles. Her Autumn 2016 article in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society argues that Andrea Dworkin, a quintessential “bad” critic and feminist, is an unexpected ancestor of queer theory. This article won the 2017 MLA Women’s Caucus Florence Howe award for outstanding feminist scholarship. Professor Allen’s research seeks to assess the methodologies and pedagogies that founded academic feminism with the aim of tracing the surprising history of contemporary queer and transgender theory in the forgotten and dismissed figures of the feminist past. At Grinnell, Professor Allen teaches Introduction to GWSS, Theory and Methods in GWSS, Masculinity in American Literature, the capstone Senior Seminar in GWSS, and Queer and Trans Literatures.


PhD, Literature, Duke University

MA, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University

BA (Hons.), English, University of Winnipeg

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    Leah Claire Allen

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