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Portrait of Dr Jo Woodiwiss Dr Jo Woodiwiss | 01484 472172


Jo joined the University of Huddersfield as a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in 2007 having previously taught Sociology at the University of York, the University of East Anglia and Leeds Trinity. Jo completed her PhD (funded by the ESRC) in the Centre for Women’s Studies at the Univeristy of York.

Jo’s PhD explored women’s engagement with narratives of childhood sexual abuse and she has since published widely on this subject including the book ‘Contesting Stories of Childhood Sexual Abuse’ published by PalgraveMacmillan. In addition she has presented her work at both National and International conferences.

Jo’s interests are broadly within the areas of self and identity, therapeutic and self-help cultures, health and well-being, childhood sexual abuse (including adult victims), narratives, and interpersonal sexual violence and the intersections of these with gender and / or sexuality. Jo is a;

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Member of the British Sociological Association.
  • Member of the European Sociological Association.
  • Member of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association.
  • Member of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research (University of Huddersfield)

In addition to teaching and research Jo has been involved with Women’s Aid for over ten years.

Research & Scholarship

University research group memberships

Jo is currently a member of the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research.

Research interests

Jo’s research interests centre broadly in the areas of narrative constructions of self/identity, childhood sexual abuse and interpersonal violence, responses to abuse, and therapeutic and self-help cultures – particularly as these intersect with gender and/or sexuality.

Jo is currently developing ideas around dominant narratives of abuse, therapeutic and other responses to violence and abuse, and constructions of identity, including multiple personalities as a response to trauma. She recently completed a small research project looking at on-line support sites for for victims of abuse including those living with multiple personalities.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Woodiwiss, J (2015) ‘What's the problem? Negotiating therapeutic cultures and contemporary damage narratives’. In: CWS Seminar, Wednesday 28 January 2015, York, UK


Woodiwiss, J (2014) ‘What’s wrong with me? A cautionary tale of using contemporary ‘damage narratives’ in autobiographical life writing ’. In: Autobiography International Conference, 2nd-4th October 2014, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden

Woodiwiss, J (2014) ‘Contested stories, dominant narratives and narrative frameworks ’. In: Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters, 19th-20th June 2014, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Woodiwiss, J (2014) ‘(Re)negotiating intimacy and sexual stories ’. In: Institute of Education Seminar, 7th April 2014, London, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2014) ‘What's wrong with me? A cautionary tale of contemporary 'damage narratives'’. In:, 23rd-25th April 2014, Leeds, UK , p. 95

Woodiwiss, J (2014) ‘Compulsory sexuality and therapeutic discourse’. In: sexgen Northern Network Symposium: ompulsory Sexualities, February 28th, 2014,, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Woodiwiss, J (2014) ‘Beyond a single story: The importance of separating 'harm' from 'wrongfulness' and 'sexual innocence' from 'childhood' in contemporary narratives of childhood sexual abuseSexualities , 17 (1-2), pp. 139-158. ISSN 1363-4607


Woodiwiss, J (2013) ‘Bridging the gap between past and present: Childhood sexual abuse, recovery and the contradictory selfWomen's Studies International Forum , 38, pp. 135-146. ISSN 0277-5395

Woodiwiss, J (2013) ‘Performing the Self: Women, Child Sexual Abuse and Multiple Personalities’. In: BSA Annual Conference 2013 - Engaging Sociology, 3-5 April 2013, London, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2013) ‘Telling Women’s Stories’. In: Women's Stories, Women's Lives A Feminist Research Symposium, 8th March 2013, University of Huddersfield, UK


Woodiwiss, J (2012) ‘Surviving child sexual abuse: (re)constructing a sexual self ’. In: Research Festival - School of Human and Health Sciences , 11th-13th September 2012, University of Huddersfield

Woodiwiss, J (2012) ‘Challenges for feminist research – contested stories and narrative frameworks ’. In: Opportunities and Challenges in Feminist Narrative Research: A Symposium Event, Friday 22nd June 2012, University of Huddersfield

Woodiwiss, J (2012) ‘Trauma narratives as guides to living: women’s engagement with narratives of childhood sexual abuse ’. In: Narrative Matters 2012: Life and Narrative, 29th May - 1st June 2012, Paris, France

Woodiwiss, J (2012) ‘(Re)constructing a sexual self: negotiating sexual scripts ’. In: BSA Annual Conference 2012 - Sociology in an Age of Austerity, 11th-13th April 2012, Leeds, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2012) ‘Negotiating a sexual self ’. In: The 2nd Biannual Irish Sexuality Studies Conference , 8th-10th March 2012, Dublin, Ireland


Woodiwiss, J (2011) ‘Performing the self in a new cultural arena: An escape from turbulent times? ’. In: The 10th European Sociological Association ESA Conference , 7th-10th September 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Woodiwiss, J (2011) ‘From the public to the private – multiple identities in a changing landscape’. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2011, 6th - 8th April 2011, London School of Economics, London, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2011) ‘Why might women identify themselves as victims of childhood sexual abuse? ’. In: The 17th British False Memory Society BFMS Annual General Meeting , 9th April 2011, London, UK


Woodiwiss, J (2010) ‘Gendered narratives of sex, health and well-being’. In: Sociological Perspectives of Health and Illness. Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 97-114. ISBN 978-1-4438-2548-1

Woodiwiss, J (2010) ‘Constructing multiple selves in a virtual landscape’. In: International Conference Landscapes of the Self: Identity, Discourse Representation, 24th-26th November 2010, Evora, Portugal

Woodiwiss, J (2010) ‘Childhood sexual abuse: a contemporary story’. In: BSA Annual Conference 2010 - Inequalities & Social Justice, 7th-9th April 2010, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2010) ‘A story for our time: contemporary narratives of childhood sexual abuse’. In: Research Festival School of Human and Health Sciences, 8th-18th March 2010, University of Huddersfield

Woodiwiss, J (2010) ‘Why do women identify themselves as victims of childhood sexual abuse?The Guardian Newspaper . ISSN 0261-3077


Woodiwiss, J (2009) ‘"Compulsory sexuality": a measure of well-being’. In: 9th Conference of European Sociological Association: ESA 2009, 02 - 05 September 2009, Lisbon, Portugal

Woodiwiss, J (2009) Contesting Stories of Childhood Sexual Abuse . London, UK: Palgrave. ISBN 9780230574045

Woodiwiss, J (2009) ‘Constructing stories of childhood sexual abuse’. In: Fourth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, University of Athens, Greece 8-11 July 2009, 8-11 July 2009, University of Athens, Greece

Woodiwiss, J (2009) ‘'Alternative Memories' and the Construction of a Sexual Abuse Narrative’. In: Memory Matters. London, UK: Taylor & Francis. . ISBN 9780415444910

Woodiwiss, J (2009) ‘Constructing stories of childhood sexual abuseInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences , 4 (5), pp. 91-100. ISSN 1833-1882

Woodiwiss, J (2009) ‘From PMS to CSA: women and self-help culture’. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2009, 16-18 April 2009, Cardiff, Wales

Woodiwiss, J (2009) ‘Gendered narratives of health and (psychological) well-being’. In: Conference of the Cyprus Sociological Association and the Hellenic Sociological Association 2009, April 3-5 2009, Nicosia, Cyprus


Woodiwiss, J (2008) ‘'Compulsory sexuality': a guide to healing?Culture Health & Sexuality , 10 (4), pp. 345-359. ISSN 13691058


Woodiwiss, J (2007) ‘Narrating a Sense of (Sexual) Well Being’. In: Narrative and Memory. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 99-109.

Woodiwiss, J (2007) ‘Politics, Responsibility and Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual AbuseSociological research online , 12 (2). ISSN 1360-7804


Woodiwiss, J (2006) ‘Alternative Memories: Searching for Knowledge, Telling a Story’. In: Narrative, Memory & Knowledge: Representations, Aesthetics, Contexts. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 137-147.

Woodiwiss, J (2006) ‘Narrating a sense of sexual well-being’. In: Narrative and Memory Research Group 6th Annual Conference, April 8th 2006, Huddersfield, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2006) ‘Alternative memories: searching for knowledge, telling a story’. In: Narrative, memory and knowledge. Huddersfield, UK: University of Huddersfield. . ISBN 9781862180512


Woodiwiss, J (2005) ‘Sex and the survivor’. In: Feminist & Women's Studies Association Annual Conference, September 2005, Aberdeen, Scotland

Woodiwiss, J (2005) ‘'Alternative memories': Searching for knowledge, telling a story ’. In: Narrative and Memory Research Group 5th Annual Conference, Saturday 9th April 2005, Huddersfield, UK

Woodiwiss, J (2005) ‘(Re)writing Memories: Childhood Sexual Abuse and Everyday Life’. In: Narrative, Memory & Everyday Life. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 153-159.

Woodiwiss, J (2005) ‘(Re)writing memories: childhood sexual abuse and everyday life’. In: Narrative, Memory and Everyday Life. Huddersfield, UK: University of Huddersfield. . ISBN 9781862180758


Woodiwiss, J (2004) ‘Politics, responsibility and childhood sexual abuse’. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2004, Monday 22nd March – Wednesday 24th March 2004, York, UK


Woodiwiss, J (2003) ‘Book ReviewsFeminist Theory , 4 (2), pp. 227-229. ISSN 1464-7001



  • Jo is a member of the Associate Editorial board of Sociology (2010 – present).
  • Jo is a reviewer for a number of journals: Sexualities, Women’s Studies International Forum and Sociology.
  • Jo has reviewed ESRC funding applications.
  • Jo has reviewed book proposals for Manchester University Press.

Key note lectures

  • Key note lecture – Opportunities and Challenges of Feminist Narrative Research (June 2012). Contesting stories: Challenges for feminist research.
  • Key note address - Annual conference of the British False Memory Society (April 2011). Why do women identify themselves as victims of childhood sexual abuse?

External PhD examiner

  • Dr Mike Hartill (University of Edge Hill 2010) The sexual subjection of boys in organised male sport.

Media contributions/appearances

  • Jo has written an article for The Guardian newspaper (March 2010).
  • Jo was interviewed about her research in The Daily Telegraph (2010) and the Huddersfield Examiner (2011).
  • Jo’s work was featured in British Sociological Association press release (April 2010).

Conference and seminar organisation

Jo has been involved in the organisation of a number of Conferences both at the University of Huddersfield and the University of York. Jo was also the convenor of the Centre for Women’s Studies seminar series 2000- 2002.

Research Degree Supervision

Past/current PhD supervision

  • Decision making in the context of Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Caribbean.
  • Lay understandings of child neglect (ESRC funded).
  • Community perceptions of child sexual abuse in Kenya.
  • Sexual exploitation and professionals’ decision making (ESRC funded).
  • Parents as illicit drug users - informing practice.
  • Narratives of health and well being.

Past/current MA supervision

  • Children and domestic violence.
  • Mothering and disabled children.
  • Media constructions of sexual exploitation.

Potential areas for supervision:

Proposals are welcome which look at the following broad areas,particularly as they intersect with gender and/or sexuality:

  • Self-help and therapeutic cultures and responses to ‘truama’.
  • (Narratives of) the self/identity and ‘well being’.
  • Transitions to adulthood.
  • Sexuality and gender.
  • Sexual/violent crime and the media.
  • Interpersonal/sexual violence (including child sexual abuse).

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Course leader: BSc (Hons) Sociology and Psychology.
  • Course leader: BSc (Hons) Behavioural Sciences.

Teaching and Professional Activities

  • Module leader for The Body and Society (level 3).
  • Module leader for Gender, Sexuality and Crime (level 2).
  • Module leader for Introduction to the Sociology of Culture (level 1).
  • PhD Supervision.
  • MA Dissertation supervision.
  • BA Dissertation supervision.

I also contribute guest lectures on the topics of childhood sexual abuse, victims, and narratives.

Last updated Thursday 6 March 2014
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