I am a Practical and Systematic Theologian whose research interests are particularly focused on the body and taking the embodied experience seriously in theology. This informed my doctoral research which was focused on trauma and its impact on faith as lived theology. It also informs my current research in Digital Theology in which I am concerned with approaches to digital spaces that negate or abstract real bodies and their digital experiences.


PhD in Theology and Religion, University of Exeter, 2013-2016.

MA in Theology and Religion, University of Nottingham, 2012-2013.

PGCE in Religious Studies, Sheffield Hallam University, 2006-07.

BA in Politics and Religious Studies, Newcastle University, 2001-4.



  • Karen O’Donnell, Broken Bodies: Trauma, Incarnation, & the Eucharist (SCM Press, forthcoming 2018).

  • Karen O’Donnell, Digital Theology (planned).


Edited Volumes

  • Karen O’Donnell, ed. Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery. Freeland: Interdisciplinary Press, 2016.


Journal Articles

  • “Being Corporeal in Digital Spaces.” Forthcoming 2017.

  • “Women and the Eucharist: Reflections on the Private Sphere.” Feminist Theology, forthcoming 2017.

  • Horrell, David., Karen O’Donnell, and David Tollerton. “Religion and the Media in GCSE and A-Level Syllabuses: A Regrettable Gap and Proposals to fill it.” British Journal of Religious Education, July 2016, p. 1-10 (published online, forthcoming in print 2017).

  • “Help for Heroes: Warrior Recovery and the Liturgy”, Journal of Religion and Health 54, no. 6 (December 2015), p 2389-2397.


Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • “Our Lady of E Street: The Boss’ Virgin 2002-2014” in W. Woolf, ed. Springsteen and Popular Music: Rhetoric, Memorial, and Contemporary Culture. New York: Routledge, 2017, pp. 45-57.

  • “The Flesh of Mary and the Body of Christ: Typological and Artistic Depictions of the Marian Priest” in E. Shabily, ed., Mater Dolorsa: The Representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Literature and the Arts. New York: Lexington Books, 2017, pp. 3-24.

  • “Rupture, Repetition, and Recovery: The Eucharist and Trauma” in O’Donnell, Karen, ed. Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery. Freeland: Interdisciplinary Press, 2016, pp. 85-94.

  • “Introduction: Interrupting Trauma” in O’Donnell, Karen, ed. Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery. Freeland: Interdisciplinary Press, 2016, p. vii-ix.


Popular Publications


Selected Book Reviews

  • “Review of Post-Traumatic Public Theology.” Ecclesiology, forthcoming 2018.

  • “Review of Heavenly Bodies: Incarnation, the Gaze, and Embodiment in Christian Theology.” Journal of Theological Studies, forthcoming 2017.

  • “Review of Material Eucharist.” Reviews in Religion and Theology, forthcoming 2017.

  • “Review of Political Trauma and Healing: Biblical Ethics for a Postcolonial World.” Political Theology, forthcoming 2017.

  • “Review of Amazing Love: Theology for Understanding Discipleship, Sexuality, and Mission.” Theology & Sexuality, forthcoming 2017.

  • “Review of Our Lady of the Nations.” Political Theology, published online 10 April 2017.

  • “Review of Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex and Church and Women’s Bodies as Battlefield: Christian Theology and the Global War on Women.” Theology and Sexuality, forthcoming 2017.

  • “Review of The Eucharist: Origins and Contemporary Understandings.” Ecclesiology, 12, no. 3, 2016, p. 378-380.

  • “Review of Field Hospital: The Church’s Engagement with a Wounded World.” Reviews in Religion and Theology. 23, Issue 4, October 2016, p. 460-461.

  • “Review of Trinitarian Theology and Power Relations: God Embodied.” Political Theology, 17, no. 3, May 2016, p. 310-311.

  • “Review of At the Limits of the Secular: Reflections on Faith and Public Life.” Political Theology, 16, no. 6, November 2015, p. 584-585.

  • “Review of Reinterpreting the Eucharist: explorations infeminist theology and ethics.” Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 28, no. 3, 2015, p. 340-341.

  • “Review of Attending the Wounds on Christ’s Body: Teresa’s scriptural vision.” Ecclesiology, 11, no. 2, 2015, p. 277-278.


2017-Present: Developing Digital Theological Education (DDTE) Action Research Project in partnership with The Church of England.

2016-Present: Being Corporeal In Digital Spaces.

2015-16: Religion and the Media at GCSE and A-Level (Research Assistant).

2014-16: Military Chaplains, Liturgy, and Trauma Recovery.

2013-16: Doctoral Research: Trauma and the (Eucharistic) Body.

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

“AI, the Cyborg, and the Imago Dei.” Religion and Public Life Seminar, Leeds University. October 2017.

“Performing the Imago Dei: Human Enhancement and Optative Image-Bearing.” Human Enhancement and Transhumanism Unit, American Academy of Religion. Boston, MA. November 2017.


Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).

Executive Committee Member of Society for the Study of Theology (SST).

Karen O'Donnell

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