Brandon began his PhD in French and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto in 2013. Prior to coming to Toronto, he completed an undergraduate and master’s degree in French Studies, both at the University of Guelph.
Brandon’s interest in sexuality studies began in 2009 when he became involved in a SSHRC-funded project that explored the advent of “new” sexualities at the end of the 19th sexuality century in France. As an undergraduate, he was active in sexuality research groups and spent time in France working on the archives of Georges Hérelle, a 19th century historian of male homosexuality. Brandon’s master’s thesis, entitled Le Monstre homosexuel : entre science et littérature examined the figure of the monster as it was used by French doctors and writers in the 19th century to both pathologize and defend homosexual desire.
As a PhD student, Brandon has continued to present in both local and international conferences, and has published an article on Belgian author and medical savant, Georges Eekhoud. His PhD dissertation will consider the effects of medicalization on self-writing by gay men in France at the end of both the 19th century and 20th centuries, focusing on issues of masculinity, disease, and expression of identity and community. From the advent of the science of sexuality and syphilis, to the quest for the “gay gene” and the AIDS crisis, Brandon’s research looks at the production and deployment of medical discourses on homosexuality in the 19th century and the permutations of those discourses in contemporary France. His hope is that the incorporation of these authors into the canon will contribute to the awareness of sexual diversity and its social and medical history.
Brandon has succeeded in receiving funding from the Jackman Humanities Institute, the Centre des études de la France et du monde francophone (CEFMF), the Lambda LGBT Foundation, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and will be receiving the SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholarship from 2014-2017.