Emma NagouseEmma Nagouse

Previous Qualifications

BA Archaeology (First Class), University of Sheffield, 2011

MA European Historical Archaeology (AHRC funded), University of Sheffield, 2012.


Prior to commencing my PhD, I worked in a variety of roles in the Higher Education sector:

  • As the Academic Life Coordinator at Sheffield Students' Union I coordinated the academic representation programme (involving over a thousand student volunteers), led on student engagement research and HE policy work, and coordinated institutional events including the Academic Awards and the Reimagine Education Conference.
  • As Alumni eMentoring Officer for TUoS Careers Service, I ran an online mentoring programme between students and alumni. I led on the strategic development of this programme, presented on mentoring at international conferences and was awarded the SU Academic Award for innovation in digital teaching.
  • I worked as a Research Associate on the Sheffield Student 2013 post-doctoral project, a piece of widening participation research led by Dr Rita Hordosy.
  • As Study Skills Officer at 301: Student Skills and Development Centre, I led on the development of a suite of digital study skills resources, as well as designing study skills workshops.

Research Topic

"She wasn't exactly a virgin, was she?": Problematising gendered constructions of respectability in biblical and contemporary rape narratives

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.

Supervisors: Dr Katie Edwards and Dr Johanna Stiebert (University of Leeds).

Research Groups

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


2017. How the Bible shapes contemporary attitudes to rape and sexual assault.

2017. Handmaids and Jezebels: Anaesthetising the Language of Sexual Violence.

2017. The Lamentation of Jamie Fraser: Outlander, Male Rape and an Intertextual Reading of Lamentations 3.

2018. To Ransom a Man's Soul: Male Rape and Gender identity in Outlander and the “Suffering Man” of Lamentations 3 . In Blyth, C., E. Colgan, and K. Edwards (eds.). Gender Violence, Rape Culture, and Religion: Christian Perspectives. London: Palgrave MacMillan. (forthcoming)