Professor of Gender and Sexuality
- +44 (0)121 331 7243
John Mercer leads the research degree programmes within the School of Media and is the leader of the Screen Cultures research cluster and the award leader (with Dr Inger Lise Bore) of the Screen Studies masters awards.
His research interests include film and television genres, celebrity and stardom, the pornography debate, the sexualisation of contemporary media culture and contemporary cultural theory.
John is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies, one of the editorial founders of Porn Studies and reviews editor for this new journal. He is also a member of the editorial board of Cine-Excess (and the guest editor of the inaugural issue), editorial board member of Sexualities and is a peer reviewer and guest editor for Celebrity Studies.
He has previously been external examiner at Wolverhampton University and is currently external examiner for Roehampton University, Southampton Solent University and Brighton University. His current and past research students investigate cult cinema audiences, lesbian television, anarcho-punk fandom and community radio.
Areas of Expertise
- Gender and Sexuality
- Film and Television studies
- 1950s Hollywood Cinema
- Melodrama, the pornography debate
John Mercer's research focus is on questions of gender and sexuality. His international publication record over the past 10 years has covered a range of topics in this area, especially issues to do with the relationship between style and meaning, stardom and celebrity, and pornography and gay identity.
John has published most extensively on issues relating to questions of gay sexuality and identity and in particular the significances of pornography for the gay community. He is currently working on a major book length study on the connections between gay pornography and gay culture.
He is the author of Melodrama: Genre, Style, Sensibility (with Martin Shingler) and the connections between media style and emotional responses remains a major interest and focus for future research.
His perennial interest in the 1950s Hollywood cinema has inspired the study of the performances of Rock Hudson that he is presently researching and writing for the British Film Institute's star studies series.
John Mercer currently supervises doctoral students across of a range of topics related gender, sexuality, identity and fandom. He has previously supervised projects dealing with Italian horror fandom, lesbian television drama, and the place of women in African media. John’s research profile and publication record focuses on issues of gender and sexuality in popular culture in particular the construction of gay iconography and sexual representation.
John is recognised as one of the leading voices in the study of gay pornography and gay culture and is one of the founding editors of the Porn Studies journal. He is also interested in the relationships between aesthetic and stylistic tropes and emotional affects across media texts but especially in the form often described as melodrama. John is the author (with Martin Shingler) of Melodrama: Genre, Style, Sensibility a publication that is used internationally on Film Studies courses dealing with melodrama.
We are particularly keen to attract students who wish to work on projects related to sexual representation and the pornography debate, gay representation and gay culture, film and television melodrama.
'A World of Men: 'National Pornographies' and the Gay Porn Industry', in Handbook on Sex, Commerce and Media Technologies, Feonna Attwood ed, Palgrave Macmillan, (forthcoming 2014).
'Gay Porn: Masculinity, Sexuality, Identity', IBTauris (forthcoming 2014).
'The Enigma of the Male Sex Symbol', in special edition Sex and Celebrity, John Mercer ed, Celebrity studies, (forthcoming 2013).
Rock Hudson, BFI/Palgrave, (forthcoming 2013).
'The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: O Fanstasma and Erotomania', in Tainted Love: Screening Sexual Perversities, Darren Kerr and Donna Peberdy eds, (forthcoming 2013).
'Coming of Age: Problematizing Gay Porn and the Eroticized Older Man', in Journal of Gender Studies, 2012.
'Gay for Pay: The Internet and the Economics of Homosexual Desire', in Blackwell Handbook of Gender, Sexualities and the Media, Karen Ross ed, 2012.
'Power Bottom: Performativity and Gay Pornographic Video' in Hard to Swallow: Reading Pornography on Screen, D Kerr and C Hines eds, 2011.
'Gay for Pay: Das Internet and die Okonomie das Homosexuellen Begehrens', paper for Special Issue of Montage 'Das Internet und Pornographische Darstellungen', April 2010.
'Seeing is Believing: Constructions of Stardom and The Gay Porn Star in U.S. Gay Video Pornography', in S Holmes and S Redmond (eds), Framing Celebrity, Routledge, 2006.
'Deep in the Brig: The Myth of the Prison in Gay Pornography', in T Morrison (ed), Pornucopia: Eclectic Views on Gay Male Pornography, Haworth Press, 2005.
Entry on 'Douglas Sirk' for the Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, B.K. Grant (ed), Thomson Gale, 2006.
Entry on 'Melodrama' for the Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, B.K. Grant (ed), Thomson Gale 2006.
Entry on 'Semiotics' for the Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, B.K. Grant (ed), Thomson Gale, 2006.
Melodrama: Genre, Style and Sensibility, J Mercer and M Shingler, Wallflower, 2004.
'Deep in the Brig: The Myth of the Prison in Gay Pornography', reprinted in The Journal of Homosexuality Vol.47, 3 and 4, 2004.
'Prototypes: Repetition and the Construction of the Generic in Gay Pornography', collected in Paragraphspecial issue, J Still (ed) Men's Bodies, University of Edinburgh Press, 2003.
'Introduction to Magnificent Obsession', invited speaker for at Doris Day Weekender, University of Kent, September 2013.'
'A World of Men: 'National Pornographies' and the UK Gay Porn Industry', VIII MAGIS - International Film Studies Spring School, University of Udine, Gorizia, 12-21 March 2013.
'Acting and Behaving Like a Man: Rock Hudson's Performance Style', SCMS 2013, Chicago, 6-10 March 2013.
'Acting and Behaving Like a Man: Rock Hudson's Performance Style', invited speaker at research seminar, University of Kent, 30 October 2012.
Invited speaker for Porn Laid Bare Project, University of Sussex and Terrence Higgins Trust, August 2012.
'Straight hell: Gay porn and the Ambiguities of Sexual Abuse', VIII MAGIS - International Film Studies Spring School, University of Udine, Gorizia, 20-29 March 2012.
'Applying philosophical method and critical theory in the vocational media studies curriculum', Colloquium: Teaching Philosophical & Religious Studies 'Beyond Boundaries' Higher Education Academy, Birmingham City University, 9 June 2010.
Invited Speaker for Big Gaydar Workshop, University of Sussex, 28 May 2010.
'Gay for Pay: The Internet and the Economics of Homosexual Desire', VIII MAGIS - International Film Studies Spring School, University of Udine, Gorizia, 19-24 March 2010.
'Another Gay Movie? Desire and 'Popular' Gay Film', NECS Conference, University of Lund, 25-28 June 2009.
'Skimming the Surface: Appearance as Performance in Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle', ECREA 2008, Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB), 25-28 November 2008.
'Pretty Boy: Eastern Europe and the American Gay Porn Industry', NECS Conference, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, 19-21 June 2008.
'The Love That Dare Not Speak its Name: Homosexuality and the Melodramatic Sensibility', NECS Conference, University of Vienna, Austria, 21-23 June 2007.
'Power Bottom: Performativity and Gay Pornographic Video', invited speaker at Post Graduate Seminar at Oxford Brookes University, April 2007.
'High Heels and High Drama: Almodovar and Melodrama Now', [with Professor Andy Medhurst], invited speaker at Post Graduate Seminar at University of Sussex, 1 March 2006.
'Power Bottom: Performativity and Gay Pornographic Video', The Limits of Representation Conference, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, 8 April 2005.
Invited speaker for Curzon Cinema Anniversary Season, 23 October 2004.
'Emotion as Spectacle: Rethinking Melodrama in Film Studies', Spectacle and the Spectacular Conference, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, 24 April 2004.
'Seeing is Believing: Constructions of Stardom and The Gay Porn Star in U.S. Gay Video Pornography', Screen Studies Conference, 4-6 July 2003.
'Deep in the Brig: The Myth of the Prison in Gay Pornography', Dangerous Representations Conference, University of Sussex, 1-2 June 2001.
Panel chair at Othering England conference, Buckinghamshire Chilterns, University College, April 2001.
'Prototypes: Repetition and the Generic in the Iconography of Gay Pornography', Men's Bodies Conference, Nottingham University, 29-31 March 2001.
'Virtual Ethnographies: Using Internet Discussion Forums as a Research Tool', Audience Research Methodologies Workshop, John Moore's University, Liverpool, 24 April 1998.
Panel chair at Deviant Imaging Conference, University of Warwick, 23 May 1998.