Naomi Richman


Thesis title:

Sex and the Spirit: Gender and Sexuality in Born-Again Christianity


Professor Graham Ward and Dr Sarah Apetrei


My doctoral thesis seeks to provide an account of how configurations of gender and sexuality are developed, disseminated and performed in the largest Christian renewal movement of our time; Born-Again Christianity.  The thesis focuses on the gendering of spirituality and sexuality within the movement through an exploration of doctrine and processes of embodiment. As an interdisciplinary project, my thesis combines methods from ethnography and systematic theology to address questions that are of concern to gender theorists, feminist theologians and others.

Research area: 

Study of Religion and Religions

Historical and Systematic Theology


All Soul's College Award and AHRC Studentship

Selected Conferences:

  • Conference Speaker, Christian Renewal Movements in the Global South in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Religious, Social and Political Transformation, The Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2017) - I will be presenting a paper titled, Anthropology's 'Theological turn'? Reconsidering the proper place for religious belief within social-scientific research into global charismatic movements (upcoming)
  • Guest Speaker, Women in Leadership series at Heythrop College, University of London (2016) - I was invited to speak at Heythrop College's Women in Leadership series. I spoke to undergraduates and graduates about careers, academia and the importance of the Humanities subjects today.
  • Guest Speaker, Nicholson Lecture, North London Collegiate School (2016) - I gave a talk titled, Suspending my world to enter another: My research into gender and sexuality in Nigeria
  • Guest Lecturer, Annual Politics Lecture, Crescent University (2015) - I was invited to give the annual Politics and International Relations department 2015 lecture.  I presented a paper titled, Religion as Political Ideology: Marxism and Nationalism.
  • Conference Speaker, Africa Research Day, Royal African Society (2015) - I presented a paper on 'Gender and Sexuality in Born-Again Nigeria'.
  • Lecture Series, How the History of Religious Belief and Practice Continues to Affect the Common Person, Keble College, University of Oxford (2014) - I wrote and delivered this six-part lecture series followed by Q&A, hosted at Keble College, and sponsored by St Columba’s Church.
  • Conference Speaker, Studies in Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University (2014) - I presented paper titled, 'Beneath the Shtreimel: Attitudes to Mental Illness in the Private Lives of 20th Century Hasidim'.

Other research interests:

I am also interested in Science and Religion, the far-flung Jewish diaspora, mysticism and spirituality, witchcraft, new religious movements and post-modern spirituality. I am also interested in connections between religion and popular culture.

Academic-related Activities

  • Podcaster for 'The Remedy'. This podcast series explores understandings of health and healing through interviews with representatives from religious and secular movements. This series is part of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) 2017 Headline Series 'Humanities and Identities'. The series was originally broadcast live for Radio Brockley's 50th anniversary. 
  • Participant in the Oxford-Jerusalem programme for the study of the Abrahamic Religions;
  • Co-founder of Contemporary Constructive Theologies graduate reading group;
  • Member of the Graduate Theological Society;
  • Member of the Women in Humanities network

About me:

I studied Philosophy and Theology as an undergraduate and then completed a Master's degree in the Study of Religions, both at Keble College, University of Oxford. I have since worked as a Philosophy and Theology teacher at North London Collegiate School and Wolsey Hall Oxford. I enjoy engaging the public with my research and to that end, I lecture, give talks, record podcasts and make films. When not busy on these projects, I enjoy getting lost in art galleries and travelling around the world.


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