Karen O’Donnell

Coordinator, Centre for Contemporary Spirituality

Email: kodonnell@sarum.ac.uk
+44 (0)1722 424836
Twitter: @kmrodonnell

Dr O’Donnell is a feminist, ecumenical, practical theologian whose interdisciplinary research interests span theology, spirituality, and pedagogy.



  • Karen O’Donnell, Digital Theology: Constructing Theology for a Digital Age (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019).
  • Karen O’Donnell, Broken Bodies: The Eucharist, Mary, and the Body in Trauma Theology (SCM Press, 2018).

Edited Volumes and Special Issues

  • Managing Editor of Modern Believing. 2018-present.
  • General Editor, T & T Clark/Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Systematic Theology. Volume One forthcoming in 2021.
  • Karen O’Donnell & Scott Midson, eds, “Special Edition on Human Relationships and Digital Technologies.” Theology and Sexuality. Forthcoming 2020.
  • Karen O’Donnell & Katie Cross, eds, Feminist and Trauma Theologies. Forthcoming, 2019.
  • Karen O’Donnell, ed. “Special Edition: Theology and Childlessness.” Modern Believing. Forthcoming, 2019.
  • Karen O’Donnell & Elena Shabily, eds, Emancipation Women’s Writing at the Fin de Siècle. London: Routledge, 2018.
  • Karen O’Donnell, ed. Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery. Freeland: Interdisciplinary Press, 2016.

Journal Articles

  • Karen O’Donnell. “Theology and Reproductive Loss.” Theology and Sexuality, forthcoming 2019.
  • Karen O’Donnell. “Women and the Eucharist: Reflections on the Private Sphere.” Feminist Theology, forthcoming 2019.
  • Karen O’Donnell. “Being Corporeal in Digital Spaces.” International Journal of Public Theology, forthcoming 2019.
  • Karen O’Donnell. “What Does it Mean to be Human? A Feminist and Anti-Racist Critique.” Reviews in Religion and Theology, Jan 2019.
  • Karen O’Donnell. “Performing the imago Dei: human enhancement, artificial intelligence and optative image-bearing,” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, (2018) DOI: 10.1080/1474225X.2018.1448674
  • Karen O’Donnell. “A Feminist Perspective on the Marian Temple Type.” New Blackfriars, published in Early View (2018)  DOI:10.1111/nbfr.12369, in print 2019.
  • 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 40, no. 2 (July 2016), pp 114-123.
  • Karen O’Donnell. “Help for Heroes: Warrior Recovery and the Liturgy”, Journal of Religion and Health 54, no. 6 (December 2015), pp 2389-2397.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • “The Eucharist and Trauma” in C. Southgate, ed. Tragedies and Congregations. Forthcoming, Routledge, 2019.
  • “Digital Pedagogy and Spiritual Formation” in C. Clivaz and T. Hutchings, eds, Religion and Digital Humanities. Forthcoming, Routledge, 2019.
  • “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.

Selected Conference and Seminar Papers

  • “The Theologian as Dreamer: On Theological Imagination and Human Enhancement.” Human Enhancement and Transhumanism Unit, AAR, Denver, November 2018.
  • “Theology of Reproductive Loss: Towards a theology of the body.” Maternal Identities Symposium, University of Exeter, May 2018.
  • “Theology and Reproductive Loss.” Centre for Religion and Public Life Seminar, Leeds University, February 2018.
  • “Performing the Imago Dei: Human Enhancement and Optative Image Bearing.” The Human Enhancement and Transhumanism Unit, AAR. Boston, November 2017.
  • “Reality, Truth, & Fake News.” Digital Theology Seminar, Premier Digital Conference, London, November 2017.
  • “Embodied Digital Spaces.” SST Conference (Nottingham University), April 2017.
  • “False Binaries: Digital Education and the Challenge of Training Priests Online.” #dariahTeach Workshop on Digitally Enhanced Education (Lausanne, Switzerland), March 2017.
  •  “Trauma and the Impossibility of Redemption.” Spirituality, Theology, and Health Research Seminar (Durham University), December 2016.
  • “The Digital Unreal or Augmented Reality: The Christian and Digital Engagement.” Religious Studies Seminar (Newcastle University), December 2016.
  •  “PTSD, Warrior Recovery, and the Liturgical Church.” St. Michael’s Public Lecture (Exeter), June 2016.
  • “Rupture and Redemption: Responding to the Traumatised Human Nature.” SST Conference (Durham University), April 2016.
  • “Reflections on The Female Academic Voice.” Can and Should We Still Use the F Word? Symposium at the University of Chester, August 2015.
  • “PTSD, Warrior Recovery, and the Liturgy.” Sacrament, Liturgy, and Theology Seminar at SST Conference (Nottingham University), April 2015.
  • Invited response speaker to key note paper by Lieven Boeve “Interrupting Revelation, Interrupting Church” at SST Conference (Nottingham University), April 2015.
  • “Rupture, Recovery, and Repetition: The Eucharist and Trauma.” 5th Global Conference on Trauma: Theory and Practice, Lisbon, Portugal. May 2015.
  • “Mary’s Trauma and the Eucharist.” Theology, Feminism, and Gender Seminar at The Society for the Study of Theology (SST) Conference, Durham University, April 2014.