Olu Jenzen lectures in media studies with research interests across critical theory, contemporary media, literature and popular culture, notably in the fields of feminist and queer theory.
Her research work focuses on the politics of aesthetic form, cultures of trauma, the representation of gender and sexuality in film, literature and popular culture and social aspects of non-normative epistemologies.
Dr Olu Jenzen is Principal Lecturer in Media Studies. Her research ranges over different contemporary themes in Media Studies and Critical Theory with a particular interest in the politics of aesthetic form and the aesthetics of protest. A key theme in her research is popular culture as it intersects with debates of gender and sexualities, activism, marginalized communities, heritage, and social media. Dr Jenzen has an interdiciplinary background in Cultural Studies, Contemporary Literature and Film Studies. She has published on themes such as LGBTQ activism, queer methodology; trauma, otherness and textuality; social aspects of non-normative epistemologies (the uncanny, the paranormal etc); popular culture heritage; and the trope of radical narcissism in popular culture.
Currently she is leading on a HEFCE (SLNCOP) funded project on LGBTQ youth and access to Higher Education. In the autumn 2018 she will be a visting researcher at the The Centre on Social Movement Studies in Italy. Recent projects include an AHRC funded project on the Aesthetics of Protest, a University funded social engagement award - Digital cultures of resistance: LGBTQ Social Media Popular Culture Strategies and Activism, about the activist lives of young people, and two further AHRC funded Early Career projects: The People’s Pier and a multi disciplinary project exploring the connections between young people and sporting celebrity. Her previous empirical work addresses social media outreach work with socially excluded and hard to reach LGBT youth (Jenzen and Karl 2014).
She has guest edited a special issue of The Journal of Lesbian Studies (Routledge) and is the co-editor of the forthcoming collection The Aesthetics of Protest: Global Visual Culture and Communication (Amsterdam University Press).
Dr Jenzen was awarded a BA honours in Comparative Literature and Film Studies (1st class) in 1998 from the University of Lund, Sweden and an MA in Comparative Literature (Distinction with Prize) in 2001, also from Lund. Dr Jenzen has been very successful in obtaining competitive scholarships and in 2000 she won a visiting student scholarship to the University of California Los Angeles. She received her PhD in English Literature from Sussex in 2009 and joined The University of Brighton in December 2010, having taught Media and Cultural Studies, English Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Sussex since 2007.
Dr Jenzen teaches critical theories of media and culture, media and popular culture and media research methods. She is the Course Leader for the Media Studies BA degree and has previously led the Creative Media MA. In 2013 she was awarded the Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning Award.
Dr Jenzen is currently supervising PhD students working on topics such as queer visual activism in South Africa; social media and LGBT mental health support; LGBTQ kinship practices and collaborative
art practices; and the representation of learning disability in visual culture in the context of non-normative gender and sexuality. She welcomes students undertaking postgraduate research projects that are interested in aspects and politics of aesthetic form, issues of gender and sexuality, dissident sexualities, or situate their project within feminist and/or queer theoretical methodologies, but also projects that, in a wider sense, relate to other aspects of ‘margins’, sub cultures and popular culture.
Olu Jenzen's publications examine research discourses on aesthetics, psychoanalysis and dissident sexualities.
This research strand brings together popular culture, one of Jenzen’s key research areas, with community engaged research.
Brydon, Lavinia and Jenzen, Olu (2017) Pop(-up)ular Culture at the Seaside: The British Pleasure Pier as Screening Space In: Atkinson, Sarah and Kennedy, Helen W., eds. Live Cinema: Cultures, Economies, Aesthetics. Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 43-60. ISBN 9781501324833
Jenzen, Olu (2017) Trans youth and social media: moving between counterpublics and the wider web Gender, Place and Culture, 24 (11). pp. 1626-1641. ISSN 0966-369X
Skey, Michael, Stone, Chris, Jenzen, Olu and Mangan, Anita (2017) Mediatization and Sport: A Bottom-Up Perspective Communication & Sport. ISSN 2167-4795
Brydon, Lavinia and Jenzen, Olu (2016) ‘Pierdom’ by Simon Roberts Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies. ISSN 2213-0217
Jenzen, Olu (2015) LGBTQ digital activism, subjectivity and neoliberalism In: Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories Research seminar series, University of Brighton, 18 Feb 2015.
Jenzen, Olu (2014) Digital cultures of resistance: LGBTQ social media popular culture strategies and activism In: Creative Citizens: the conference, Royal College of Art, 18-19 September 2014.
Jenzen, Olu and Karl, Irmgard (2014) Make, share, care: social media and LGBTQ youth engagement Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, 5. ISSN 2325-0496
Jenzen, Olu (2014) Queer teeth: exploring traumatic health legacies In: Zeeman, L., Aranda, K. and Grant, A., eds. Queering health: critical challenges to normative health and healthcare. PCCS, Ross-on-Wye, pp. 176-196. ISBN 9781906254711
Jenzen, Olu (2013) Revolting doubles: radical Narcissism and the trope of lesbian Doppelgangers Journal of Lesbian Studies, 17 (3-4). pp. 344-364. ISSN 1089-4160
Browne, Katherine, Harper, Catherine, Jenzen, Olu, Karl, Irmgard and O'Donnell, Katherine (2013) Revolting bodies: desiring lesbians: an introduction Journal of Lesbian Studies, 17 (3-4). pp. 209-214. ISSN 1089-4160
Jenzen, Olu (2013) Social realism and the paranormal in Scandinavian fiction In: Jenzen, Olu and Munt, Sally R., eds. The Ashgate research companion to paranormal cultures. Ashgate, Burlington, pp. 227-240. ISBN 9781409444671
Munt, Sally R. and Jenzen, Olu (2013) The Ashgate research companion to paranormal cultures [Edited Collections]
Jenzen, Olu and Munt, Sally R. (2012) Queer Theory, Sexuality and Religion In: Hunt, S. and Yip, A., eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality. Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 45-58. ISBN 9781409409496
Jenzen, Olu (2011) Review of Contemporary British fiction and the artistry of space: style, landscape, perception by David James English Studies, 92 (6). pp. 701-702. ISSN 0013-838X
Jenzen, Olu (2011) Same, same but other: over-sameness as sexual otherness In: Sencindiver, S.Y., Beville, M. and Lauritzen, M., eds. Otherness: a multilateral perspective. Peter Lang, pp. 45-60. ISBN 9783631635742
Jenzen, Olu (2010) Haunting poetry: trauma, otherness and textuality in Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days Otherness: Essays and Studies, 1 (1). ISSN 1904-6022
Jenzen, Olu (2010) Let the Right One In: Children, Vampires and Queers - Social Realism and the Paranormal In: The University of Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies conference 'Paranormal Cultures', 4 June 2010, University of Sussex, UK. (Unpublished)
Jenzen, Olu (2009) From Magical Thinking to Magical Realism: Imagination and Queer Survival in Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit In: Translate Trauma Network Research Day, 29th April 2009, University of Sussex. (Unpublished)
Jenzen, Olu (2009) Reworking Linear Time: Queer Temporalities in Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry and Art and Lies In: Sönmez , M. J-M and Özyurt Kılıç, M, eds. Winterson Narrating Time and Space. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 31-49. ISBN 1443805149
Jenzen, Olu (2007) Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping and the Queer Uncanny In: Sönmez, M. J.-M. and Baskan, F.B, eds. Jeanette Winterson and Her Work. The 14th METU Novelists Conference Proceedings. British Novelists Series . METU, Ankara, pp. 179-186. ISBN 9789944085106
Jenzen, Olu (2007) The queer uncanny eSharp (9). ISSN 1742-4542
Jenzen, Olu (2006) Fantasy and Life on the Sexual Margins – Judith Butler’s Engagement with Fantasy in the Political Field and the Process of Becoming Human In: ’There Is No Politics without Fantasy’: Gender, Sexuality and Cultural Studies in Law, 19-20 April 2006, Keele University, UK. (Unpublished)
Dr Jenzen is a member of the steering group for the The Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender Research and has been very active in the formation of a local research network: the Brighton and Sussex Sexualities Network (BSSN) which is an inter-university research network aimed at supporting research and researchers who work on issues of sexuality within the Universities of Brighton and Sussex which has now expanded to form the SexGen South network of several insttutions across the South of England.
Together with colleagues from the University of Brighton she is involved in organising events for the LGBTQ research hub, such as the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 Lesbian Lives Conference at the University of Brighton. This international conference is run in collaboration with scholars from University College Dublin. In previous years the conference has brought together 250 academics, activists, performers and writers from all continents to network across international and professional boundaries.