Emma Nagouse

BA (Hons), MA

School of English

Research Student

  • BA Archaeology (First Class), University of Sheffield, 2011.
  • MA European Historical Archaeology (AHRC funded), University of Sheffield, 2012.
Research interests
  • Rape Cutlure
  • Feminist Literary Criticism
  • Rape Culture and the Bible

Current research

Rape of women in the Bible is depicted in contexts where sexual violence is normative, and where narratives are mediated through androcentric perspectives.

The rape of Dinah (Genesis 34) is condemned only insofar as it offends the men who purport to own her, and in 2 Samuel 13, Tamar’s violated body acts primarily as conduit for male competition. Bathsheba's rape, meanwhile, is rarely even called such, because (so is the implication) she should consider herself lucky to have caught the eye of the king.

The females in these stories also elicit distinct responses in terms of the respectability accorded them: Tamar’s status as dutiful royal virgin confers a pathos lacking with Dinah who, in the act of going out to meet the women of the land (Genesis 34: 1) is seen as morally ambiguous (she ‘has it coming’, to use common parlance).

I argue that such a split in responses has contemporary resonance, whereby the respectability of rape complainants is deciphered through an appraisal of their sexual histories and matrices of class, race and gendered prejudices. These are, moreover, affected by the identity of the rapist and the construction of his masculinity.

Using feminist literary criticism, my research challenges the apparent gradations of rape implicit in how survivors are portrayed, by interrogating the relationship between intersectional gender identities and respectability in both biblical and contemporary rape cases.

Professional activities and memberships
  • I am an active member of The Shiloh Project (Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible).
  • I am the co-organiser of The Sheffield Feminist Archive project (launched with a grant from Sheffield City Council)
  • I have co-founded a group with Dr Kay Guccione for PGRs and ECRs who understake research on traumatic, upsetting or sensitve topics.