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Staring Down the Violence: Surveillance in Genesis

Alsen, Carolyn (2016) Staring Down the Violence: Surveillance in Genesis. Colloquium: The Australian and New Zealand Theological Review, 48 (2). pp. 161-177. ISSN 0588-3237

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    Abstract

    This article advances the hypothesis that surveillance studies can inform a postcolonial feminist reading of Genesis narratives. The method of reading uses the overall metaphor of the omnividence (the ability to see all) of the few acting upon the many. Of particular use in this study are literary poetics, ethnic and gender profiling, assemblage and data doubles, shame and honour, and a reimagining of the “omniscient” third person narrator. Persian and Assyrian period intelligence gathering and surveillance is investigated as an influence on the text. That is, the narrator and characters report events after seeing them through a particular nationalistic and legal ideological lens. In one account of narrative surveillance in the story of Dinah and Shechem, in Gen 34, the narrator demonstrates bias. To counterread this, sousveillance techniques in the narrative can be understood as not only a means of profiling but also a means of resisting this profiling. Drawing on the practical theology of Eric Stoddart, cultural theory and postcolonial feminist thinking, resistance strategies of (in)visibility in the narrative imaginary are posed for those who are under the eye of powerful forces.

    Item Type: Published Articles
    Repository Version: Published Version
    Keywords (separated by commas): Pentateuch, cultural theory, postcolonial feminist criticism
    Fields of Research: 16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
    16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory
    16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
    20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200204 Cultural Theory
    20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
    20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200211 Postcolonial Studies
    20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200525 Literary Theory
    21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210310 Middle Eastern and African History
    22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220407 Studies in Religious Traditions (excl. Eastern, Jewish, Christian and Islamic Traditions)
    22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2299 Other Philosophy and Religious Studies > 229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
    Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
    Type of Activity: Strategic Basic Research
    Subject Area(s): B - Biblical Studies, general
    B - Old Testament
    A - Philosophy
    Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
    Depositing User: Mrs Carolyn Alsen
    Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 12:33
    Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 12:33
    URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2220

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