Brian L. Donovan

Brian L. Donovan
  • Professor
  • Associate Chairperson

Contact Info

Fraser Hall, Room 711
1415 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045


Brian Donovan is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas. Donovan’s work primarily focuses on gender and American culture. He has published three books, the latest of which—American Gold Digger: Marriage, Money, and Law from the Ziegfeld Follies to Anna Nicole Smith—analyzes the role of the “gold digger” trope in American law and popular culture. Donovan’s research has been published in several journals including Celebrity Studies, Theory and Society, and The Sociological Quarterly. Brian has won two university-wide distinguished teaching awards: the Silver Anniversary Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007) and the Gene A. Budig Teaching Professorship Award (2016). Areas: Gender and Sexuality, Historical Sociology, Cultural Sociology, and Sociology of Law.


How does fandom create collective joy?

His latest research focuses on the Taylor Swift fandom. Donovan’s current book project, Swifties: Anatomy of a Fandom, uses in-depth interviews with swifties to explore the meaning-making and joy-producing activities of Taylor Swift fans. Donovan also teaches an undergraduate class titled “The Sociology of Taylor Swift,” and he is currently the faculty advisor for the university’s Swift Society club. Donovan’s insights on Taylor Swift and her fans have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, USA Today, and the Christian Science Monitor, and with extended profiles in the Kansas City Star and the Kansas Alumni Magazine and an op-ed for MSNBC.