Research area: Sexual Disease and Sexual Suspicion in Biblical Exile Texts
I started my undergraduate degree in September 2012 at the University of Leeds. When I arrived I was initially interested in the discourse surrounding Islamic terrorism and religious community relations but I rather unintentionally, fell into the world of biblical studies, and have never left. In 2015 I was awarded a BA First Class in Theology and Religious Studies and took up a place to undertake a MA at Kings College London in biblical studies with a language and literature focus. Although my MA course was both wide and varied I became particularly interested in the various outworkings of post exilic texts, especially when they are able to be read in light of contemporary issues, stigma, and discrimination towards women, LGBT+ people and vulnerable groups in wider society. Alongside this I’m also fascinated by the purity laws in Leviticus, and the topics of blood, bodily emissions and pollutions, as well as culturally defined understandings of taboo. It comes as no surprise then that my BA dissertation explored the book of Lamentations in light of contemporary understandings of HIV in the United Status and my MA dissertation was a re-reading of Ezekiel 22 in regards to sex workers in the UK and their experiences of sexually transmitted infections and diseases (including HIV). I am currently a PhD candidate with SIIBS researching how sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases, bodily emissions and menstruation have been used as tools for stigma, prejudice and discrimination within contemporary society arising out of the socio-political and theological constructed stigmatising sentiments found in the biblical exilic texts.
Alongside this I am the co-founder and present director of the Orange is the New Bible project with current SIIBS PhD student Jo Henderson-Merrygold. The research project uses the hit Netflix show, Orange is the New Black to restively read biblical texts through pop culture, activism and feminist and queer politics. The first OITNBible symposium was held in February 2016 and proved to be a great success and both Jo and myself look forward to taking the project from strength to strength.
When I’m not studying I’m often seen on my bike, watching drag queens and eating cheese, but I haven’t as yet managed to master doing all three at the same time.
Conferences and Publications
- Biblical Studies one day symposium, University of Leeds (April 2015) HIV and Lamentations paper
- Orange is the New Bible Symposium. A one-day symposium for undergraduates, postgraduates and early career researchers about the Bible and Orange is the New Black at the University of Sheffield (February 2016) Conference organiser and keynote speaker
- Forthcoming article in, Blyth, C, Colgan, E, Edwards, K (eds) ‘Bible and Rape Culture’, - ‘For Precious Girls Everywhere: Lamentations, HIV and Precious’
- Religion, Gender and Sexualities one day conference, Aston University (July 2016), ‘Samson and the Salon’ paper
Awards and Prizes
- OITNBible project shortlisted for best academic event at University of Sheffield Academic Awards, May 2016
-AHRC funding: University of Sheffield WRoCAH Doctoral Studentship; April 2016
-KCL Masters scholarship, September 2015