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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: 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
Subjects: B - Biblical Studies, general
B - Old Testament
A - Philosophy
College/Association with University of Divinity: Trinity College Theological School
Depositing User: Mr Micah Daley-Carey
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 01:33
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2018 03:23
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2938

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