Aysha Winstanley Musa


Photo of Aysha Musa.Aysha Winstanley Musa

BA with First Class Honours in Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, 2013

MA with Distinction in Biblical Studies Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS), 2015

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), 2016


Dr. Katie Edwards, Dr. Meredith Warren

Research interests

Sex, Gender, Bible, Judges




My thesis investigates the construction of Jael, a female character from the Biblical Book of Judges, paying particular attention to how she is framed in both masculine and feminine ways. My thesis interrogates gender constructions and stereotypes throughout, which has involved looking at the dichotomy of roles and behaviours that are socially and historically considered male or female. Some examples include, passiveness and activeness, and nurturing and violence. I am looking at these gendered roles with the aim of revealing that gender and gender roles are social constructions rather than occurring from biological difference as Simone de Beauvior recognised.

The central concern of my thesis will be to work towards promoting a different understanding of the current sex/gender system, in accordance with two of Judith Butler’s statements, the first, that gender is performance and the second that the term ‘female’ is a limiting and limited term. Therefore, throughout my thesis I am employing a range of gender critical theories including feminist and masculinity theories, queer theory and genderfuck, in order to do violence to gender binaries and the boundaries of being ‘female’.

Crucially, through the use of gender criticism I plan to explore ways in which this normalisation can be subverted, as it is in this subversion, what is often called a heteronormative gap, where change can be brought about to societal understandings of sex and gender. Through engaging with gender critical theories I aim to break the constructed idea of binaries, of shared identities, and intend to challenge the systems that produce them by questioning, displacing, reframing or queering the dominant conceptual paradigms.

What I want to emphasise is that my thesis is not just about looking at how gender norms might have shaped the construction of characters in biblical texts such as the Book of Judges: it is about seeing what importance they might have for situations in the world today where the Bible remains a significant text. It is my belief that this thesis has much to offer, as the Bible is not detached from our culture or our cultural controversies, with the Bible is often used as a regulating discourse, a cultural text of considerable significance and influence.


Professional Associations

  • The Society for Old Testament Study
  • The Society of Biblical Literature


'Don't believe The Handmaid's Tale: the original Jezebel has been much maligned' The Conversation (18.07.17). 2017.

'Reading Solomon J. Solomon's Samson' FORUM, Issue 23. 2016.

'Event Review: Orange Is The New Bible Symposium' Track Changes, Issue 9, pp. 130-133. 2016.

Book Review: Sherry Lou Macgregor, Beyond Hearth and Home; Women in the Public Sphere in Neo-Assyrian Society', Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Volume 14, pp. 256-260. 2015.


Academic Assignment Tutor for Realising Opportunities (University of Sheffield), 2017

Invited Lecture for REL276 Gender, Religion and the Bible, "The Bible and Rape Culture" (Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield), 2016

Graduate Teaching Assistant for REL128 The Bible: Sacred Texts & Imperial Contexts (Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield), 2016

Graduate Teaching Assistant for REL102 Understanding the New Testament (Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield), 2016