Chrissie Thwaites


I joined the University of Leeds in October 2020 as a PhD student, funded by the AHRC through a White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) scholarship. Prior to this, I completed my BA and MA degrees at the University of Exeter.

My current research focuses on purity culture in contemporary Christianity. My PhD project uses social research methods to explore women’s experiences of purity culture in British Christianity. This includes experiences of trauma, and religious understandings of gender and sexuality. 

My research is very interdisciplinary, crossing the boundaries of humanities and social sciences, and I’m broadly interested in topics relating to inequality and personal fulfilment – including gender, disability, poverty, and wellbeing and mental health. I’m committed to conducting impactful research which is grounded in lived realities and strives to bring about social change. I have been interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and am always looking for opportunities to communicate my work to the wider public.

Research interests

My research interests are wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary, including:

  • sociology of religion 
  • gender, gender equality, and gender-based violence 
  • trauma and abuse 
  • wellbeing and mental health
  • disability
  • poverty and class
  • qualitative research methods 

During my Master’s degree, I focused on interactions between contemporary religion and topical social issues, including eating disorders, disability, society, and the welfare state. At undergraduate level, I specialised in ancient religion and history.


  • MA Theology and Religion (University of Exeter)
  • BA Theology with Ancient History (University of Exeter)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Religion and Public Life