Jonathan Branfman researches race, masculinity, and Jewish identity in popular media, especially digital media like YouTube. His work invites Jewish, feminist, queer, critical race, and media studies to grasp how historical anti-Semitism shapes present-day U.S. visual culture, and how Jewish stars harness this stigma to enter America's core cultural debates. For instance, the Black Jewish rap superstar Drake must reconcile clashing stigmas of Jewish emasculation and Black hypermasculinity. And though Drake presents many different masculinities, all his personae embody U.S. disputes about hip hop itself as an oft-vilified Black art form. Drake is one of seven stars analyzed in Jonathan's current book project, Queer Glamor: Masculinity, Race & Jewish Millennial Stardom. Jonathan's research has also appeared in Television & New Media, the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, and the Journal of Homosexuality. To advance intersectional feminist theories of anti-Semitism, he has also analyzed "Jewish-Progressive Conflict in the journal Frontiers. To share feminist and queer education beyond academia, Jonathan has likewise published an intersectional LGBTQ children's book, You Be You! The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality & Family, now translated into 23 languages.
- Jewish cultural studies and Jewish feminism
- Star studies and feminist media studies
- Queer theory
- Critical race theory
- Masculinity Studies
- Jewish LGBTQ experience
- Feminist sex-education