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About Prof Hannah Bacon

I obtained my PhD in 2003 from the University of Liverpool. While studying for my doctorate and for a short time after graduating, I worked at Liverpool Hope University teaching Christian theology but also modules in sociology of religion, identity studies, religious studies, and study skills. I also worked part-time for a charitable organization, producing religious education materials for schools and colleges across the UK and editing a theology journal. I served as an examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) for two years, marking AS level religious studies papers on religious ethics.

My PhD research focused on the doctrine of the Trinity and proposed a move away from an explicit focus on the inclusive language debate within feminist theology to a deeper and more rigorous engagement with how we think rather than simply speak about God. Shortly after completing my PhD, I joined the staff at the University of Chester in August 2004. Although my research has continued to engage with areas of Christian doctrine – mainly, aspects of Christology, the Trinity and Incarnation – I have become increasingly interested in how theological tradition constructs the female body and might help repair and transform contemporary social discourses about bodies.

My current research focuses on the interface between Christian theology and contemporary secular weight loss dieting and is rooted in qualitative work I conducted inside one secular weight loss organization in the UK. It considers how theological discourses of sin and salvation serve to normalize weight loss and fat phobia while testing the ability of Christian tradition to transform theological and cultural attitudes to the body, appetite and food which harm women’s bodies.

I am a member of a number of academic organisations including the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and The European Society of Women in Theological Research (ESWTR). I am affiliated to the feminist educational centre of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) and I have just completed a period of serving as board member and UK representative on the Women’s Caucus (affiliated to the AAR and Society for the Study of Biblical Literature). I am also a member of The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA).


Undergraduate modules

  • TH4050 Contemporary Challenges to Christian Thinking
  • TH5061 Christology from the Margins: Imaging Jesus in Contextual Theologies
  • TH6042 Feminist Perspectives in Christian Theology
  • TH6051 Dissertation

Postgraduate modules

  • TH7025 Research Dissertation


Research interests

  • The place of the body in Christian theology
  • Feminist theology and weight loss dieting; theologies of fat; feminist theology and body image
  • Theologies of food; theologies of eating
  • The relationship between feminist theology and Christian orthodoxy, especially Trinitarian thought

PhD (and D Prof) supervision

I welcome enquiries for research at doctoral level in any of my research areas listed above but am especially interested in supervising projects that probe the interface between gender, theology and fat or gender, theology and slimming. I am also welcome enquiries from students wishing to explore other areas within contextual theology, systematic theology, theological anthropology, theology and contemporary women’s culture.

Current Doctoral Students

Aurora Rawlinson:   Gender and the Image of God: Engaging with the Lived Experiences of Transwomen

Michelle Nunn:         Women and Discipleship in the Elim Church

Denise Bennett:       The Church and Domestic Abuse

Elizabeth Shercliff:   Women's Voices and Homiletics Education

External Funding

2003-2004 AHRC funding for doctoral research

Published Work


Feminist Theology and Contemporary Dieting Culture: Sin, Salvation and Women’s Weight Loss Narratives. (T & T Clark, 2019)

With Dossett, W. and Knowles, S. (eds). Alternative Salvation: Engaging the Sacred and the Secular (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015)

With Morris, W. and Knowles, S. (eds). Transforming Exclusion: Engaging Faith Perspectives (T & T Clark, 2011)       

What’s Right with the Trinity? Conversations in Feminist Theology (Ashgate, 2009)



Journal articles

‘Fat, Syn, and Disordered Eating: The Dangers and Powers of Excess’, Fat Studies 4, no. 2 (2015): 92-111

‘Expanding Bodies, Expanding God: Feminist Theology in Search of a Fatter Future’, Feminist Theology 21, no. 3 (May 2013): 309-326

‘God and Thinness: Is Christian Theology Feeding the Secular Commercial Weight Loss Industry?’, The Bible in Transmission (forthcoming, Spring 2013), The Bible Society.

Thinking the Trinity as Resource for Feminist Theology Today?’, Cross Currents 62, no.4 (December 2012): 442-464.

Edited chapters

‘Fat, Syn, and Disordered Eating: The Dangers and Powers of Excess’, in L. Gerber and S. Hill (eds), Fat Religion: Protestant Christianity and the Construction of the Fat Body (Routledge, forthcoming January 2021)

‘Dieting for Salvation: Becoming God by Weighing Less?’, in H. Bacon, W. Dossett and S. Knowles (eds), Alternative Salvations: Engaging the Sacred and the Secular (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), pp. 41-51

‘Does Size Really Matter?’, in H. Bacon and W. Morris (eds), Transforming Exclusion: Engaging with Faith Perspectives (T & T Clark, 2011), pp. 101-113       

‘Concluding Comments’, in Morris, W. & Bacon, H. (eds), Transforming Exclusion: Engaging with Faith Perspectives (T & T Clark, 2011), pp. 117-120       

‘A Very Particular Body: Assessing the Doctrine of Incarnation for Affirming the Sacramentality of Female Embodiment’, in J. Jobling and G. Howie (eds), Women and the Divine: Touching Transcendence (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2009) pp. 227-52



BA (Liv), PhD (Liv), PG Cert HE (Liv) FHEA