Photo of Ummni Khan

Ummni Khan

Associate Professor

Degrees:B.A. (Concordia), M.A., LL.B. (York), LL.M. (Michigan), S.J.D. (Toronto), of the Bar of Ontario
Phone:613-520-2600 x. 1547
Office:C572 LA (Loeb Building)

Current Research

My broad research interests focus on the overlapping ways that sexuality, gender and the racialized body are constructed, policed and put into discourse in law and society. In particular, I have scrutinized the socio-legal construction of sexual deviancy, transgendered subjects, the emotive underpinnings of law, the racial logic of law, and media and pop cultural representations of law. I am also interested in theories of punishment and justice and how such approaches are expressed in socio-legal and cultural texts.

Current Projects

2013     Social Science and Humanities Research Council Insight Development grant holder.  Project title:  “Sex Buyer Beware: Constructions and Representations of Sex Trade Clients and their Impact on Law”


  • Lauren Menzie, MA thesis: “Consent Discourse in Social, Legal and Virtual Realms”
  • Jean Ketterling, MA thesis: “Kill-Screen / Death-Drive: User Experience, Violence, and the Erotics of Death in Video Games”
  • Zoey Jones, PhD thesis: “Exploring Rope Bondage: Experiences of Practice and Community”

In the Media

(Op-ed) Khan, Ummni. “Why we (still) can’t get enough of Ghomeshi”, Ottawa Citizen. March 20, 2016.

(Quotes) Beejoli Shah, “Inside the sexy, subversive world of cum tributes,” Fusion. February 12, 2016.

(Quotes) Brigitte Noël, “‘John Shaming’ Is Actually Putting Sex Workers at Risk,” Vice News. September 29, 2015

(Quotes) Avery Zingel, “Sex experts condemn Joy Smith’s criticism of Fifty Shades of Grey,” CBC News. February 17, 2015.

(Interview) Panelist, ”Fifty Shades’ Of Misrepresentation’, HuffPost Live. Aired February 10, 2015.–of-misrepresentation-518644596

(Quotes) Mélanie Berliet, “Your Dominatrix Is So Bored by ’50 Shades”, The Daily Beast. February 6, 2015.

Selected Publications

2019 “Kinky Identity and Practice in relation to the Law” (Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming)

2019 “The Treachery of Rape Representation in Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol” co-authored with Dr. Tal Kastner, for I Confess (McGill Queen’s University Press, forthcoming).

2019 “Rape as Play: Yellow Peril Panic and a Defence of Fantasy” co-authored with PhD student, Jean Ketterling, Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian law (forthcoming)

2019 “Chester Brown and the Queerness of Johns” in Critical Analysis of the Law, An International & Interdisciplinary Law Review 2019 “Torn: A Social Media Drama over the Aziz Ansari Scandal” co-authored with Dr. Rena Bivens, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology

2019 “Torn: A Social Media Drama over the Aziz Ansari Scandal” co-authored with Dr. Rena Bivens, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology

2018. “From Average Joe to Deviant John: The Changing Construction of Sex Trade Clients in Canada” in Red Light Labour: Sex Work Regulation, Agency, and Resistance Edited by Elya M. Durisin, Emily van der Meulen, and Chris Bruckert

2018. All Joking Aside? Taking Stock of Sexual Humour at Work Centre for Free Expression blog (January 2018). Ryerson University

2017. “Fifty shades of ambivalence: BDSM representation in pop culture” in Smith, Clarissa, Feona Attwood, and Brian McNair, eds. The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality. Routledge.

2017.      “Fetishizing Music as Rape Culture.” Studies in Gender and Sexuality 18.1: 19-30.Available from:

2016. “Let’s Get It on: Some Reflections on Sex-Positive Feminism.” Women’s Rts. L. Rep. 38 (2016): 346.2016.     “Take My Breath Away: Competing Contexts Between Domestic Violence, Kink and The Criminal Justice System in R. v. J.A. OñatiSocio-legal Series [online], 6 (6), 1405-1425. Available from:

2016.      “An Incitement to Rapey Discourse: Blurred Lines and the Erotics of Protest”  in Marusek, Sarah, ed. Synesthetic Legalities: Sensory Dimensions of Law and Jurisprudence. Routledge.

2016       “The Rhetoric of Rape Culture,” Centre for Free Expression blog. Ryerson University.

2016       “Hot For Kink, Bothered By The Law: BDSM And The Right To Autonomy“, Law Matters. Alberta Branch, Canadian Bar Association.

2015      “Antiprostitution Feminism and the Surveillance of Sex Industry Clients” in Dubrofsky, Rachel E., and Shoshana Amielle Magnet, eds. Feminist Surveillance Studies. Duke University Press.

2015  “Sadomasochism in Sickness and in Health: Competing Claims from Science, Social Science, and Culture.” Current Sexual Health Reports(2015): 1-10.

2015   “Johns” in the Spotlight: Anti-prostitution Efforts and the Surveillance of Clients. Canadian Journal of Law and Society 30, pp 9-29 doi:10.1017/cls.2014.27

2014    “Slipping Between Danger, Pleasure and the Law: Thoughts on Three Recent Books Addressing Sexuality“, Dalhousie Law Journal. Vol. 37 No. 1 (Spring 2014). Read it here:

2014    “Grappling with Ghomeshi: Human Rights, BDSM identification & representation; employment law; edgy kink; sexual assault law”, University of Toronto Press Publishing Blog (Nov. 11). Read it here:

2014    Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences ASPP highlight on Vicarious Kinks:  “Are some topics too taboo to tackle for a researcher?” Read Ummni’s response here:

2014    “My Own Private Sex Wars” in Feral Feminisms, Issue 2.

2014   Vicarious Kinks: S/m in the Socio-Legal Imaginary (University of Toronto Press, 2014).
Order at, or from the University of Toronto Press website.

2013    Kissing Cousins: Racism, homophobia and compulsory able-bodiedness in the controversy over Inter-Cousin Marriage, Jindal Global Law Review, Special Double Issue — Part II: Law Culture and Queer Politics in Neoliberal Times (Volume 4, Issue 2, August 2013)

2012    Book review of Framing Crime for Social and Legal Studies

2012    “Holding the Law in Contempt” in Outside In: 160 New Perspectives on 160 Classic Doctor Who Stories by 160 Writers (ATB Publishing )

2012    “Bordering on Identity: How English Canadian Television Differentiates American and Canadian Styles of Justice” in ed. Jessica Silbey and Peter Robson, Law and Justice on the Small Screen (Hart Publishing)

2011      “Prostituted Girls and the Grownup Gaze”, Global Studies of Childhood [ Vol 1: 4] pages 302-312

2011      “Running in(to) the Family: 8 Short Stories About Sex Workers, Clients, Husbands, And Wives” in Journal Of Gender, Social Policy & The Law [Vol. 19:2]

2009    “A Woman’s Right to be Spanked:  Testing the Limits of Tolerance of S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary”. The Journal of Sexuality and the Law, Volume 18.

2009    “Putting a Dominatrix in Her Place”.  The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Volume 21.

2009    “Having your Porn and Condemning it Too:  A Case Study of a ‘Kiddie Porn’ Expose”.  Law, Culture and the Humanities, Volume 5(3).

2007    “Perpetuating the Cycle of Abuse:  Feminist (Mis)Use of the Public/Private Dichotomy in the case of Nixon v. Rape Relief”.  Windsor Review of Law and Social Issues, Volume 23.