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About Dr Dawn Llewellyn

I joined our lively and collegial Department in November 2010, having completed by PhD in Religious Studies from Lancaster University. My doctoral work qualitatively examined women’s spiritual reading as a third wave feminist practice, and I used this to connect religious and secular feminisms: this  became the basis for my first monograph Reading, Feminism, and Spirituality: Troubling the Waves (Palgrave, 2015)

Prior to this, I studied Philosophy and Systematic Theology as an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh and Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), and completed an MA in Women’s Studies at Lancaster University.  

I am currently completing (contracted with Bloomsbury) called Motherhood, Voluntary Childlessness, and Christianity: Narratives of Choice that explores Christian women’s reproductive choices to have children or to be childfree, and the impact this has on their religious, gendered identities. 

I am also researching a service known as ‘Churching’ (Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth) in the Church of England, a project, which is funded by the British Sociological Association (Sociology of Religion Study Group). Using participant observation and interviews, I explore the mothers’ motivations for taking part, and their understandings of the ritual.  

As part of my work in religion and gender, I am Series Editor (with Sian Hawthorne and Sonya Sharma) of The Bloomsbury Series in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality:

I really enjoy engaging with wider audiences about my work. For example, I am involved with ‘Storyhouse Women’ events like the annual festival and ‘Storyhouse Childless’, where I have curated, hosted, and chaired talks and panels. In addition, I have contributed to various print media and broadcast media programmes, like Radio 4’s Beyond Belief and Sunday to discuss my research and topics relating to gender and religion. I also consult for BBC ‘Bitesize’ on the Religious Education resources.

I am a member of several academic organisations, and regularly contribute to their annual meeting and conferences: British Sociological Association, BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group, and the British Society for the Study of Religion. As part of the Faith Lives of Women and Girls research group, I sit on their steering committee, and I co-convene the Religion and Gender Stream of the International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture. I am also affiliated to The Shiloh Project (Sheffield), Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, and Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (Aston).


Undergraduate Modules

Lived Religions: People, Places, Things

Studying Contemporary Religion: Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives

Religion and Gender


Postgraduate Modules

Advanced Methods in the Study of Religion

Advanced Theories in the Study of Religion

Advanced Methods in Practical Theology

Gender, Religion and Literature


Research Interests

Gender, Christianity and Post-Christianity

Gender, Religion and Literature

Qualitative Methodologies

Third Wave Feminism and Religion

Motherhood and Childlessness


PhD and DProf Supervision

I welcome enquiries for research at doctoral level in any of my research areas listed above or from students wishing to explore other areas within:

  • Religion and Gender
  • Contemporary Christianities
  • Religious Studies, Contemporary Spiritualities, and Religion and Society
  • Contextual, Practical and Public Theologies

Doctoral Completions

Dr David. G. Ford  (PhD)       Reading the Bible Outside the Church: A Case Study

Dr Ros Lane  (DProf)    Imprisoned Grief: A Theological Response to the Experiences of Bereaved Prisoners

Dr Anna Ruddick  (DProf)    Missional Pastoral Care: Innovation in Charismatic Evangelical Urban Practice   

Rev Dr Graham Edwards  (DProf)   Telling Our Stories: Methodist Narrative and Identity

Rev Dr Margaret Jones     (DProf)   Postsecular Rapprochement: A Strategic Model for Church Engagement

Rev Dr Steve Birkinshaw  (DProf)    ‘Spiritual Friends’: Children’s Spirituality in British Urban Secondary Education  

Rev Dr Susie Collingridge (DProf)   Patterns of Ministry of Clergy Married to Clergy in the Church of England

Dr Mark Miskimmin (DProf)  What is Working Well? Exploring a Theology of Work at Urban Community Church, Belfast

Rev. Dr Ruth Craig  (DProf)  Flourishing or Burnout? A Holistic Model of Supervision for Methodist Clergy


Current Doctoral Students

Jo Winn-Smith      Motherhood and Priesthood: An Autoethnography

Daniel Nield          An Autoethnography of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Morgana Loze-Doyle    Purity Cultures and Millennial Women in 1990s Britain

Lensa Woodcock    Gender, Violence, and Spiritual Abuse in Evangelical Christianity (co-supervised with Dr Lisa Oakley, School of Psychology)

Claire Hams     Spiritual Abuse and Recovery: Post-cult Identities and Experiences (co-supervised with Dr Lisa Oakley, School of Psychology)

Published Work


2016  Dawn Llewellyn and Sonya Sharma (eds), Religion, Equalities and Inequalities, (Routledge, 2016).

2015  Reading, Feminism, and Spirituality: Troubling the Waves (Palgrave Macmillan: London, 2015).

2008  Dawn Llewellyn and Deborah F. Sawyer (eds), Reading Spiritualities: Constructing and Representing the Sacred (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008)


Other Select Publications

‘Children, Family, and Childlessness’ in Stephen  E. Gregg and George D. Chryssides (eds), The Bloomsbury Guide to Studying Christians, (Bloomsbury, 2019): 127 – 130.  

‘Voluntary Childlessness and Christianity: Rejecting the Selfish Other’, Modern Believing, Vol. 6/2 2019: 147-156.

Graham, Elaine, and Dawn Llewellyn, ‘Promoting the Good: Ethical and Methodological Considerations in Practical Theological Research’ in Mary Moschella and Susan Willhauk (eds), Qualitative Research in Theological Education: Pedagogy in Practice, (SCM Press, 2018): 39-59.

‘Divine Imaginaries: The Turn to Literature in the Feminist Theology and Spirituality’ in Sîan Melville Hawthorne (ed.), God and Gender, (Macmillan-Palgrave, 2017):177-194. 

‘“I’m Still Reading the Bible!” Post-Christian Women’s Biblical Reading Practices’ in Yvonne Sherwood (ed.), Bible and Feminism: Remapping the Field (Oxford University Press, 2017): 569-588.

‘Maternal Silences: Motherhood and Voluntary Childlessness in Contemporary Christianity’, Religion and Gender, 6/1 2016: 64-79.

Llewellyn, Dawn and Marta Trzebiatowska, ‘Secular and Religious Feminisms: A Future of Disconnection?’ Journal of Feminist Theology, 21/3, 2013: 244-58.

‘Risky Readings: The Act of Reading and the Search for Spiritual Knowledge’ in Elisabeth Arweck and Mathew Guest (eds), Religion and Knowledge (Ashgate, 2012): 165-180.

‘Across Generations: Women’s Spiritualities, Literary Texts and Third Wave Feminism’ in Chris Klassen (ed.), Feminist Spirituality: The Next Generation (Lexington Books, 2009): 179-99.

‘Forming Community in the Third Wave: Literary Texts and Women’s Spiritualities’ in Llewellyn, Dawn and Deborah F. Sawyer (eds), Reading Spiritualities: Constructing and Representing the Sacred (Aldershot, Ashgate: 2008):153-69.



MA (Hons) (Edinburgh);  MA (Lancaster);  PhD (Lancaster);  FHEA