We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.


Dr Karen O'Donnell

Dr Karen O'Donnell, PhD, MA, PGCE, BA, Associate Fellow HEA

Research Fellow CODEC of St John's College

Contact Dr Karen O'Donnell (email at karen.o'

Research Fellow in Digital Pedagogy

Karen joined CODEC in May 2016 as the research fellow in Digital Pedagogy. She is working in collaboration with the Common Awards team in researching the intersections and relationships between the digital world and theological learning. Her work is focused on the concepts of embodiment and disembodiment in digital engagement and exploring the theology of incarnation in the digital world. 

Karen completed her PhD at the University of Exeter in April 2016. Her thesis was entitled Somatic Memory: Trauma and the (Eucharistic) Body. This research explored traditional Christian narratives surrounding the Eucharist through the lens of trauma theory. Considering the celebration of the Eucharist to be the place where bodies and memories meet in the Christian tradition, she put forward an understanding of the Eucharist that began at the Annunciation-Incarnation event, rather than at the cross. She continues her research in trauma with a project working with military chaplains on liturgy produced in the context of the trauma of the battlefield. 

Karen has also published work on the Virgin Mary in both art and music. 

Research Interests

  • Digital Pedagogy and Theological Education
  • Trauma Theology

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • O'Donnell, Karen (2017). Our Lady of E Street: The Boss' Virgin 2002-2014. In Springsteen and Popular Music: Rhetoric, Memorial, and Contemporary Culture. Woolf, W. Routledge.
  • O'Donnell, Karen (2017). The Flesh of Mary and the Body of Christ: Mary in Eucharistic Art. In Mater Dolorsa: The Representation of the Blessed Mary in Literature and Art. Shabbily, E. & Taras, R. Universitas Press.

Edited book

  • O'Donnell, Karen (2016). Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery. Interdisciplinary Press.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Show all publications