Professor Bev Clack

BA (Hons), MSc, PhD

Professor in the Philosophy of Religion

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Bev Clack


My research interests are in the philosophical approach to religion and meaning, and on the contribution feminist ideas can make to that investigation. In addition to my degrees in Theology and the History and Philosophy of Religion, I hold an MSc in Psychoanalytic theory. My current research is focused on failure, death and loss, and I recently published a paper on ghosts as a way of engaging with ideas about death. I have held political office as a local councillor in Oxford, and I continue to be interested in the practical application of philosophical ideas. I am also involved in a project on how to have good public conversations about contentious attitudes. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • PHIL5006 Philosophy as a Way of Life;
  • PHIL5007 Continental Philosophy of Religion;
  • PHIL6004 Thinking in Dark Times.
  • I also contribute to the Philosophy module, Human Nature.


I supervise Masters by Research in areas of the ancient philosophical schools, feminist philosophy and theology, and themes in the philosophy of religion, including evil and death.
I am currently supervising PhD students in the areas of anxiety in existential philosophy of religion, feminist interpretations of Goddess mythology, and Methodist studies.

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Thomas Dobson Training to Teach: Westminster College and the development of Higher Education in the 20th century Active
Richard Fretwell Religious Freedom in a Post-Christian Age: A critical analysis of liberalism, secularism and human rights through the lens of religious freedom in education in England Active


My training is in theology and the philosophy of religion. I am particularly interested in the way in which feminist and psychoanalytic ideas might shape this area. I have published widely in the Philosophy of Religion, including the co-authored (with Brian R Clack) Philosophy of Religion: A Critical Introduction (third edition published in 2019; Feminism, Religion and Practical Reason (2021). I am interested in failure, loss and death, publishing How to be a Failure and Still Live Well with Bloomsbury in 2020. I am currently working on a follow up to this book: How to Think About Death (And Not Freak Out). My most recent publications are on ghosts and the ageing female body. 


Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • Ghosts and the Supernatural (01/02/2024 - 31/01/2025), funded by: Farmington Trust, funding amount received by Brookes: £3,400


slide 1 of 6

Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts


Conference papers

  • In November 2023, I took part in a Symposium on Fragility to be held at the Brother Institute in Geneva.
  • ‘Constructing Death as a Form of Failure: Addressing Mortality in a Neo-Liberal Age’    for Inaugural Conference for the International Association for the Philosophy of Death and Dying, Pomona College, Claremont, USA, November 2014.
  • ‘Loss and Waste: On Uncertainty and the Acceptance of Limits,’ Philosophy and         Psychoanalysis in Dialogue Conference [sponsored by the Institute of      Psychoanalysis and the Institute of Philosophy], Heythrop College, London, October 2014.
  • ‘Feminism and Religion,’ Inaugural Lecture for International Gender Studies Centre,  Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, October 2014.
  • 'Feminism, Evil and a Philosophy of Transformation,' Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia, July 2014
  • 'Being Human: Religion and Superstition in Psychoanalytic Philosophy of Religion', Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference, Oxford Brookes University, June 2010.

Further details

Academic Qualifications

  • BA Honours Degree (First Class) from Westminster College Oxford (1986)
  • PhD in the History and Philosophy of Religion from King’s College London on the Suffering of God in the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1991)
  • MSc (Distinction) in Theoretical Psychoanalytical Studies from UCL (2006)

Previous employment

  • Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at University of Surrey Roehampton (1990-2002)
  • Joined Brookes in 2002 as Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Promoted to Reader in Theology, Philosophy and Culture in 2004
  • Promoted to Professor in Philosophy of Religion in 2009

Before becoming an academic, Bev worked in the Press Office of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Centre in London (1989). She is currently City Councillor for St Clements, Oxford (Labour and Co-operative Party) (2012-2016).