Sophie Sexon

Sophie Sexon

Research Title

Queering the wounds of Christ in late medieval texts, images and performances, and in modern queer body art.

Research Summary

Interpretation of Christ’s wounds in the late medieval period can be found in theology, art, mystical writings and literature, but it is not apparent how a medieval audience would have understood these representations of the wounds of Christ.  It is thus essential to take an interdisciplinary and queer approach in order to recover the polysemous meanings of the wound for this audience. By utilising such perspectives which reject hetero-normative assessments of Christ’s wounds as merely religious in their symbolism, and which foregrounds sexuality as a key lens for interpretation, new insights can be offered on both the medieval construction of Christ’s wounds in image, text and performance, but also how such imagery influences the extreme body art of certain queer artists in Western Modernity. 

My interdisciplinary and cross-period analysis will illuminate the significance of Christ’s wounds in both medieval sources and contemporary queer art, and as such, is of interest to scholars of the medieval and modern period, to creative artists working on queer performance, and to modern audiences of both periods of art.


  • Sharpe, R.F. & Sexon, S., (2018). Mother’s Milk and Menstrual Blood in Puncture: The Monstrous Feminine in Contemporary Horror Films and Late Medieval Imagery. Studies in the Maternal. 10(1), p.10. DOI:
  • Upcoming in 2019: ‘Gender-Querying Christ’s Wounds: A Non-Binary Interpretation of Christ’s Body in Late Medieval Imagery’ in Trans and Genderqueer Subjects in Medieval Hagiography, Amsterdam University Press.
  • ‘The Extremities of the Borderlands: Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, & Chicana Identity Politics’, Groundings 5, (2012)


Grants & Awards

  • 2017: The Fran Trust Conference Award
  • 2017: James McNeil Whistler and Beatrix Whistler Scholarship
  • 2016: AHRC DTP Scholarship
  • 2015: AHRC DTP Scholarship
  • 2014: Postgraduate College of Arts Scholarship
  • 2012: William Laulan Mann Memorial Prize
  • 2012: James Boswell Bursary for Outstanding Achievement
  • 2010: Crawford Neil Prize for English Literature


Upcoming in 2019:

  • Edinburgh College of Art, SEXES Event Series, 9th May 2019: ‘Queer Theory, Medieval Methods, and Dressing as a Man for the Sake of my PhD’
  • Hufton Postgraduate Reading Group, 22nd May 2019: ‘Using a Queer Methodology in Medieval History’
  • Leeds International Medieval Congress 4th July 2019 ‘Touching Christ’s Wound: Queer Approaches to Material and Metaphor’.


  • The Occult Turn, University of Glasgow, 14th September 2018: ‘Thee Sex-Gender Politics of Occultist Bibles’
  • Leeds International Medieval Congress 2nd July 2018: Organiser of panel ‘Gender Queering The Medieval: Trans and Non-Binary Narratives and Readings