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Dr Katherine Southwood

I came to Oxford in October 2013 having previously held a post at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham where, with Philip Esler’s leadership and with Chris Keith we set up the then ‘Centre for the Social Scientific Study of the Bible’ inaugurated shortly after I started my Oxford job. Prior to that I was Kennicott Fellow at the Oriental Institute, Oxford.

I was the co-editor of the Journal of Theological Studies from 2012-2014. I am currently on various editorial and review board for journals including JTS, JBL and HBT. I was Programme Unit Chair for the Social Sciences and the Interpretation of Hebrew Scripture from 2017-2021. Before that I was Programme Unit chair for SBL’s ‘Exile as Forced Migration’ unit. As such I have organised 10 themed panels at international conferences. As part of the research for the recently published Job monograph I have also convened several seminars in Oxford. These included: The Personification of Pain in different Religions: Engaging with Religious Texts through Medical Anthropology, Co-convened with Elisabeth Hsu (School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford). Using a Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Public Engagement with Research Award I organised three seminars convened specifically for dialogue between NHS Chaplains and Academics: On “meaning”, “value”, and training in the context of illness and caring for those who are ill; Illness and Language; Illness as a Moral Event. Likewise, I organised a conference funded through a TORCH medical humanities award: Accounts of Illness in Historical and Modern Texts: Exploring Methods in Medical Humanities Research Across Disciplines.  

I am currently Chair of the Humanities Committee for Library Provision and Strategy. As such I am a Bodleian Curator and I am on the Humanities Divisional Board. In addition, I Chair the Humanities Library Users Group for the University’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre. For this new Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre, I also sit of the Library Strategic Group. I am on various other committees including Theology’s Faculty Board and St John’s College’s Governing Body.

I have a wide range of teaching experience and I am keen to supervise doctoral students, especially those with an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to ancient texts. I designed two papers for the faculty’s reformed syllabus, these are The Narrative World of the Hebrew Bible and Biblical Interpretation: Perspectives from the Social Sciences.

Research Interests:

My research is characterised by methodologically robust interdisciplinary engagement with primary texts. Currently, my research is on the body and death, building on the research themes initiated within the Job monograph. I have received a large grant for this from St John’s college for this research.