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67315-01 - Seminar: Sex, Gender, and Empire. Intersectional Approaches to the Bible in the Ancient World 3 KP

Semester Frühjahrsemester 2023
Angebotsmuster einmalig
Dozierende Bruno Clemens Biermann (bruno.biermann@unibas.ch)
Silas Klein Cardoso (silas.kleincardoso@unibas.ch)
Jenna Stover (jenna.kemp@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Sex—Gender—Empire. These terms evoke associations with contemporary politics, discourses and research. Nonetheless, the intersection of power, sexuality, and gender is also a prism to view the past from unconventional and critical perspectives. In our course, we engage with these intersectional approaches to the bible in the ancient world to trouble our perceptions about the past and to discover new views on pressing issues.

Mainly, we will engage with the questions:
• How can contemporary theories open new perspectives on the nexus of power, sexuality and
• What do we learn about gender roles and sexuality—human and divine—in ancient literature,
iconography, and material culture?
• How are engendered bodies, sexuality, eroticism, love, and violence linked to the construction
of power?
• How does academic knowledge, created within power structures, favor particular ideas about
sexuality and gender and foster cognitive colonialisms?

Following these questions, we will investigate how contemporary theories can lead to new perspectives on ancient texts, images, and material culture, centering on the southern Levant (Palestine, Israel, Transjordan) in the context of the northern Levant, Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Our class draws on feminist and gender theory as well as epistemologies of the South. Feminist and gender studies provide theoretical concepts to re-read ancient sources from novel angles. Thereby, these concepts assist in critically illuminating how the intersection of power, sexuality, and gender. Simultaneously, the critical approach known as epistemologies of the South provides tools to criticize knowledge production. The perspective insists that besides colonialism, capitalism and patriarchy are at the center of modern domination. In highlighting “dangerous,” suppressed, ignored and discarded ways of knowing originating in the (epistemic) peripheries of the world, epistemologies of the South assist in the critical re-evaluation of (academic) knowledge and its underlying assumptions.

Thematically, our course covers the construction of gender in the context of human creation—within and beyond the Hebrew Bible, the engendering of divinities, sexual pleasure, the regulation of sexuality, the framing of sex work, rape, and contemporary scholarly practices of knowledge production about texts and artefacts. On the other hand, texts and images from the ancient Near East and Egypt will be discussed to place biblical texts in the larger cultural context.

The course will be held in English and in-person, we will read mostly English literature for the session preparation. However, you are welcome to engage with literature of all languages for your papers. We encourage students of all English proficiencies to partake in the class.
Lernziele Students can ...
• Describe the main characteristics of feminist, queer approaches, and epistemologies of the South
• Understand the positionality of knowledge, particularly how theory, history, and historical criticism facilitate in the construction of knowledge
• Reflect critically on ancient and modern sources—texts, visual, and material—depictions of sexuality, gender roles, and power relations
• Develop new questions to texts, archaeology, and history by embracing the multiplicity of theories and methods
Literatur • Essays in the volumes of the series: The Bible and Women Hebrew Bible - Old Testament (on Torah, Prophecy, Writings/Wisdom, as well as the volume on Feminist Biblical Studies in the 20th Century; aimed at students interested primarily in feminist issues). The series is published in German, English, Spanish and French (https://www.bibleandwomen.org/).
• Thatcher, Adrian (Hg.), The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality, and Gender, Oxford 2015.
• Scholz, Susanne (Hg.), The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible, Oxford 2021.
• Simo Parpola und R.M. Whiting, Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East, 2002.
Bemerkungen Our course will address sensitive topics such as sexual lust, patriarchal gender roles, and sexual violence. Please keep this in mind when deciding to take the seminar.


Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz
HörerInnen willkommen


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
Block Siehe Einzeltermine
Bemerkungen Einführung am Montag, 20. Feb. 2023, 10.15 bis 11.45 Uhr Blocktermine: 10. und 31. März, 28. April, 5. Mai 2023 jeweils 8.15 bis 16.30 Uhr


Datum Zeit Raum
Montag 20.02.2023 10.15-11.45 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 107
Freitag 10.03.2023 08.15-16.30 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 107
Freitag 31.03.2023 08.15-16.30 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 107
Freitag 28.04.2023 08.15-16.30 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 107
Freitag 05.05.2023 08.15-16.30 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 107
Module Interner Wahlbereich Theologie: Empfehlungen (Bachelorstudium: Theologie)
Interner Wahlbereich Theologie: Empfehlungen (Masterstudium: Theologie)
Modul: Gender Studies für TheologInnen (GSTh) (Bachelorstudium: Theologie)
Modul: Grundlegende Texte: Exegetische und hermeneutische Perspektiven (Masterstudium: Interreligious Studies)
Modul: Themenfelder der Geschlechterforschung (Bachelor Studienfach: Geschlechterforschung)
Modul: Theologie des Alten Testaments (AT 4) (Master Studienfach: Theologie)
Modul: Theologie des Alten Testaments (AT 4) (Masterstudium: Theologie)
Modul: Vertiefung Themenfelder der Geschlechterforschung (Master Studienfach: Geschlechterforschung)
Wahlbereich Bachelor Theologie: Empfehlungen (Bachelor Studienfach: Theologie)
Leistungsüberprüfung Leistungsnachweis
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Students will do a research paper and presentation on a topic of their choosing.
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: Dozierende
Wiederholungsprüfung eine Wiederholung, bester Versuch zählt
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen nicht wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Theologische Fakultät, studiendekanat-theol@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Theologie