About the Team

The interdisciplinary ethos of the Institute of Gender Studies (IGS) brings together academics from across the University. On this page you can meet three of the founder members of the IGS.

Professor Emma Rees

BA (UEA), PhD (UEA), PGC Learning and Teaching (Chester), FHEA.

I am Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Chester, where I teach in the Department of English. My 2013 book, The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History, was described in the Independent on Sunday as ‘the book you’ve been waiting for […] Although Rees is an academic by trade, the book gleefully mixes highbrow and lowbrow, from Chaucer to 21st-century horror’. I have been writing about gender and culture for over twenty years, and I’m steeped in reading about feminism. My new book, tentatively called That is a Feminist Issue, explores current debates in feminism, especially where rifts, contradictions and divisions prove that it can appear that it’s not only patriarchy which is the enemy, but sometimes other feminists, too.

I am Book Reviews Editor for the journal Gender and Education (Routledge); peer reviewer for a number of journals, from Feminist Theory to English, to Journal of Sociology, and several points in between. I write book reviews for a range of journals, too, including Gender and Education, Psychology and Sexuality, and Jewish Culture and History. I am also an occasional columnist for the Times Higher magazine: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/author/emma-rees

I have delivered my talk, ‘Vulvanomics’, based on my book, The Vagina, at more than 30 venues and events on both sides of the Atlantic, and I host the biennial international, interdisciplinary Talking Bodies conferences at Chester (the next conference is scheduled for spring 2019).


Prof. Emma Rees, Director, Institute of Gender Studies
Professor of Literature and Gender Studies

   e.rees@chester.ac.uk      @EMMAREES


Dawn Llewellyn

MA (Hons) (Edinburgh), MA (Lancaster), PhD (Lancaster), FHEA.

My research focuses on gender and contemporary Christianity and spiritualities. While grounded in qualitative approaches in the study of religion, I also draw on feminist theologies, theories, and hermeneutics. My current project examines the interactions between Christian women’s identities, motherhood and voluntary childlessness. I joined the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in November 2010, having completed my PhD in Religious Studies at Lancaster University. My doctoral work qualitatively examined women’s spiritual reading as a third wave feminist practice, and used this to connect religious and secular feminisms. 

Prior to this, I studied Philosophy and Systematic Theology as an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh and Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), and completed an MA in Women’s Studies at Lancaster University. My most recent book is Reading, Feminism, and Spirituality: Troubling the Waves (Palgrave, 2015), and I have co-edited Religion, Equalities and Inequalities (Ashgate, 2016) and Reading Spiritualities (Ashgate, 2008). I am a member of several academic organisations, and regularly contribute to their annual meeting and conferences: BSA Sociology of Religion; Feminist and Women’s Studies Association; and the European Society of Women in Theological Research.


Dr Dawn Llewellyn, Associate Director, Institute of Gender Studies
Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies

   d.llewellyn@chester.ac.uk      @DawnLlewellyn


Deborah Wynne

BA, MPhil, PhD, FHEA.

I am Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Director of Research for the English Department. My current research projects have emerged from an interest in textile cultures in Victorian and Edwardian Britain, particularly the ways in which novelists represented the role of cloth in social life. I received an AHRC Fellowship in 2013-14 which allowed me to work on my Literary Fabrics project, and during that year I researched how writers represented textile manufacture, clothing, needlework and tapestry, as well as the retailing and trading of textiles (considering second-hand clothes dealers, drapers and cotton magnates).

My study shows that Victorian and Edwardian writers employed textile imagery and language to indicate the ways in which society was itself a ‘fabric’. I have done research on Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, William Morris, H.G. Wells and Arnold Bennett. This has resulted in a number of articles: one on rags and recycling in Dickens’s work; another on Edwardian drapers in the work of Wells and Bennett; and an essay focusing on the life-writing of men involved in the drapery trade. My research on Victorian material culture also informs my teaching: as well as encouraging students to explore the key roles played by objects in nineteenth-century literature and culture, I also teach thing theory as an important new approach to contemporary fiction and film.


Prof. Deborah Wynne, Institute of Gender Studies
Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature




For further information on any aspect of the work of the Institute,  please contact Professor Emma Rees: e.rees@chester.ac.uk