Naomi Hetherington

Naomi Hetherington

University Tutor: Foundation Programme


BA Theology and Religious Studies (Newnham College, Cambridge)
MA Victorian Literature (Manchester)
PhD (Southampton)

I joined the Department of Lifelong Learning in September 2014. Before taking up my current position, I taught for five years in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London, where I received a Birkbeck Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship Award for my contribution to the Certificate of Higher Education in Literature. I have also taught at the University of Hertfordshire, Roehampton University, and London Metropolitan University, where I held a Visiting Research Fellowship at The Women’s Library (then at Old Castle Street).

I am a full member of the Higher Education Academy. In addition to my academic work, I have a background in supported housing and hold a Combined Certificate in Counselling Skills and Theory (Central School of Counselling and Therapy, London).


I convene and teach on Introduction to the Humanities and Foundations of English (Level 0), and Ideas That Changed The World (Level 1). I also supervise a number of Extended Projects.

Other roles

I contribute to the department’s Discover programme introducing adult learners to the possibility of university level study. I also enjoy creating new opportunities for teaching and learning in the wider community. I have given invited talks to book groups and have run pop-up poetry reading workshops for National Book Week and at the university's first Rediscover Your Potential event.

Research interests

My research interests are in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature and culture, in particular religion and literature, gender and sexuality, the history of feminism, Victorian popular fiction and the literary New Woman.

My current project is a study of the figure of the female freethinker in New Woman fiction. It asks how and why the literary figure of the New Woman came to associate sexual transgression in the public mind with unbelief and heterodox forms of religion. In so doing, it sheds new light on the role which gender has played in the process of long-term religious change.

Previous projects include the first collection of critical essays on the Anglo-Jewish writer Amy Levy (co-edited with Dr Nadia Valman, Queen Mary, University of London), and a collaborative project on Religion and Sexuality 1870-1930, with Professor Joy Dixon (University of British Columbia), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Further details can be found on the project website:

I am a member of the British Association for Victorian Studies, the Women’s History Network, the Victorian Population Fiction Association and the Sheffield Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies. I am a founding member of the History of Feminism Network.



Amy Levy: Critical Essays, co-edited with Nadia Valman (Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2010).

Special Issues

Victorian Review 37.3 (2011), co-edited with Joy Dixon, special issue entitled ‘Late Nineteenth-Century Religion and Sexuality’.

Women: A Cultural Review 21.3 (2010), co-edited with the History of Feminism Collective, special issue entitled ‘Rethinking the History of Feminism’.

Articles and Book Chapters

‘Freethought, feminism and sexual subjectivity in colonial New Woman fiction: Olive Schreiner and Kathleen Mannington Caffyn’, Victorian Review 37.3 (2011), pp. 47-59.

‘The Seventh Wave of Humanity: Hysteria and Moral Evolution in Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins’ in Writing Women of the Fin de Siècle: Authors of Change ed. Adrienne Gavin & Carolyn Oulton (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 153 165.

‘Rethinking the History of Feminism’ (co-authored with the History of Feminism Collective), Women: A Cultural Review 21:3 (2010), pp. 266-278.

‘“A Jewish Robert Elsmere”? Amy Levy, Israel Zangwill and the post-emancipation Jewish novel’ in Amy Levy: Critical Essays ed. Naomi Hetherington & Nadia Valman (Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2010), pp. 180-197.

‘New Woman, “New Boots”: Amy Levy as Child Journalist’ in The Child Writer from Austen to Woolf ed. Christine Alexander & Juliet McMaster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp 254-268.

‘Israeli Holocaust Fiction: Aaron Appelfeld’s Badenheim 1939 and Amos Oz’s Touch the Water, Touch the Wind’, Journal of Holocaust Education 5.1 (1996), pp. 49-60.