Professor Louisa Elizabeth Allen

PhD Cambridge, MA, BA


Professor Louisa Allen is a graduate of The University of Auckland and the University of Cambridge. She has taught at both of these universities in the area of educational sociology, the sociology of youth, research methodologies, feminist post-structural theories and theories of gender. Her research interests lie in the area of sexualities, sexuality education, youth, gender and schooling. This work is informed by feminist post-structuralism, queer theory and new materialism.

Research | Current

Recent Publications

Allen, L. (2021) 'The Smell of Lockdown': Smellwalks as Sensuous Methodology', Qualitative Research. First published online 16 April 2021.

Allen, L. (2020) ‘Breathing Life into Sexuality Education: Becoming Sexual Subjects’. Philosophical Inquiry in Education. 27(1) pp.1-13.

Allen, L. (2020) ‘School in focus: photo methods in educational research’ in (eds) Michael Ward and Sara Delamont, Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education. (2nd edition) Edward Elgar Publishing Limited: Cheltenham. pp.248-256.

Allen, L. (2020, November 19). Sexuality education and feminist new materialisms. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press. doi: (8,000 words)

Howell, T & Allen, L (2020) ‘Good morning boys’: Fa’afāfine and Fakaleiti experiences of Cisgenderism at an all-boys secondary school, Sex Education, DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2020.1813701

Allen, L., Fenaughty, J & Cowie. L. (2020) ‘Thinking with new materialism about ‘safe-un-safe’ campus space for LGBTTIQA+ Students’. Social and Cultural Geography. Published online 18 August 2020. Doi 10.1080/14649365.2020.1809012.

Allen, L. (2020) ‘Sexuality Education: Mapping the Global Landscape of School-based Research’, in Nancy Naples (ed) Companion to Sexuality Studies. John Wiley and Sons Ltd: New Jersey. pp.225-241.

Allen, L., Cowie, L & Fenaughty, J. (2020) ‘Safe but not safe: LGBTTIQA+ students’ experiences of a university campus, Higher Education Research & Development, DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2019.1706453 published online 2 Feb.

Allen, L (2019) ‘Heterosexual students’ accounts of teachers as perpetrators and recipients of homophobia’, Journal of LGBT Youth. 10.1080/19361653.2019.1643272 Online First 1 August.

Allen, L. (2019) ‘Reconceptualizing Qualitative Research Involving Young People and Sexuality at School’, Cultural Studies ó Critical Methodologies. 19(4) pp. 284-293: 10.1177/1532708618784325.

Research Speciality

Louisa specialises in research in the areas of sexualities, gender, young people and schooling and innovative research methodologies which seek to engage hard to reach research populations. She has written seven books in these fields one of the latest of which is Schooling Sexual Cultures: Visual Research and Sexuality Education, Routledge, New York (2017). Another recent publication is The Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education co-edited with Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen. Her work is widely published in top level journals such as British Journal of Sociology of Education and Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and which span disciplinary fields such as psychology, sociology, youth studies, health, medicine, visual studies and philosophy. She is currently just completed a new book entitled Sexuality Education and New Materialism: Queer Things to be published by Palgrave, New York.

Teaching | Current

Louisa currently supervises doctoral and masters students working in the areas of gender and sexualities. In the past she has coordinated and co-taught on the Education Doctoral Programme (EdD) which prepares students who are professional educators to become advanced researchers. Other courses she teaches include:

  • EDUC 122G/122 Learning Sexualities
  • EDUC 118 History and Society in New Zealand Education
  • EDUC 213 Education and Social Justice
  • EDUC 317 History and Sociology of Education
  • EDUC 321 Politics, Philosophy and Education
  • EDPROFST 777 Curriculum: Theory, Issues, Practice

Postgraduate supervision

Recently Complete

  • Tori Howell (MEd) 'Being a Goddess': Experiences of Fa’afafine and Fakaleiti at an all boys' school
  • Toni Ingram (PhD) Becoming school ball-girl: entanglements that matter
  • Mary-Anne McAllum (PhD) Telling our stories, making it real’: Young bisexual women’s experiences in New Zealand Secondary Schools
  • Lilli Kenny (MA) LGBTQIA+ characters and themes in SLANZA young adult fiction.
  • Alex Yang Li (PhD) The Sexual Subjectivities of Chinese Young Diaspora in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Teguh Wijaya Mulya (PhD) From divine designation to discursive contestation: The constitution of Indonesian Christian young people's sexual subjectivities
  • Christina Vogels (PhD) "It's a masculinity sort of thing": Young men talk about oppressive boyfriend practices
  • Sarah Garland-Levett (MA) Rethinking Aotearoa-New Zealand sexuality education policy through new materialism
  • Andrew Madjar (MA) The Pedagogy of a Father: Fathers’ school involvement as lived experience

Selected Current

  • And Pasley (PhD) Gender Non-Conforming Students in Secondary Schools
  • Ce Lui (PhD) Queer Teachers' Experiences in China and New Zealand
  • Noah Romero (PhD) Unschooling Matter(s): Agential Realism, Decolonisation, and Critical Unschooling
  • Vibha Tirumalai (PhD) Sexuality and Culture: Understanding the experiences of New Zealand Indian youth and parents
  • Andrew Taylor (PhD) Queer School Leaders
  • Nelly Choy (Phd) Asian Students' Experiences of Sexuality Education
  • Chris Porteous (PhD) Exploring Hegemonic Masculinities in a New Zealand Public Boys' School
  • Jiarong Li (MEd) Are girls still invisible? The lived experiences of girls in two co-educational secondary  schools
  • Amy Galbraith (MEd) Young People Anxiety and Depression in Intermediate Schools. 


In 2011 Louisa was part of an international research team awarded an Australian Research Council – Discovery Project Grant. She is currently a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust – University of Cambridge and serves on the Editorial boards of a number of high profile international journals such as Qualitative Research and Sex Education.

Louisa has been a previous recipient of an Early Career Research Excellence Award – University of Auckland and a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, as well as a British Federation of Women Graduates Scholar – British Federation of Women Graduates, London. In 2016 she received a Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland.


Louisa has been a Deputy Head of School - Postgraduate, Chair of the School of Critical Studies in Education (CRSTIE) Postgraduate committee and a member of the Faculty of Education Postgraduate Committee. She was also a founding member of the Early Career Academic Women’s Network for The University of Auckland and member of The University of Auckland Scholarships Committee. Louisa has also been a long serving member of the CRSTIE Research Committee and the Faculty of Education Small Research Grants Committee. She is currently a long standing member of the Faculty of Education Equity Committee and works with a number of community organisations focused on young people and sexual health.

Areas of expertise

  • Sexuality education
  • Queer theory
  • New materialism
  • Feminist post-structuralism
  • Visual research methodologies
  • Qualitative research methodologies
  • Educational sociology
  • Critical masculinities theories

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Faculty of Education, Equity Committee
  • Previously Deputy Head of School - Postgraduate (Critical Studies in Education)
  • Faculty of Education, Postgraduate Committee
  • Critical Studies in Education, Research Committee
  • Member of Family Planning Association New Zealand, New Zealand Association for Research in Education

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Allen, L. (2019). 'It's just a penis': the politics of publishing photos in research about sexuality. Culture, health & sexuality, 21 (9), 1012-1028. 10.1080/13691058.2018.1533586
  • Allen, L. (2019). Heterosexual students' accounts of teachers as perpetrators and recipients of homophobia. JOURNAL OF LGBT YOUTH10.1080/19361653.2019.1643272
  • Allen, L. (2018). Reconceptualising homophobia: by leaving ‘those kids’ alone. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 1-13. 10.1080/01596306.2018.1495617
  • Allen, L. (2018). Reconceptualizing Qualitative Research Involving Young People and Sexuality at School. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 153270861878432-153270861878432. 10.1177/1532708618784325
  • Allen, L. (2018). Sexual choreographies of the classroom: Movement in sexuality education. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 39 (3), 347-360. 10.1080/01596306.2016.1263184
  • Allen, L. (2017). Schooling sexual cultures: Sexuality education and visual research. New York: Routledge. Pages: 184.
  • Allen, L. E. (2017). Section Introduction to Volume II, Part 1. In P. Aggleton (Ed.) Education and Sexualities (pp. 1-6). New York: Routledge.
  • Allen, L. E. (2017). Introduction to Volume I Part 3. In P. Aggleton (Ed.) Education and Sexualities (pp. 227-233). New York: Routledge.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 363
New Zealand

Web links