My dissertation, Striking Women: Performance and Gender in Ancient Jewish Literature, was about three “woman warrior” characters in the Bible and ancient Jewish literature: Jael in Judges 4-5, Judith, and the re-imagined Jael in Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities 31. I use queer-theoretical frameworks to show how the characters’ masterful performances of “womanhood” allow them to be effective assassins. A revised version of the dissertation, entitled Women in Drag: Gender and Performance in Early Jewish Literature, is under contract with Gorgias Press, to be published in the Biblical Intersections series.
In April 2014, I entered Vanderbilt’s 3-Minute Thesis competition. Developed at the University of Queensland, the 3MT gives graduate students the opportunity to explain their dissertation research to a non-specialist audience. Presentations must be both fun and informative. No notes are allowed, and participants are limited to one static PowerPoint slide. The three-minute limit is no joke; if a participant goes over by even one second, he or she is disqualified. Out of about 55 Vanderbilt Ph.D. students who competed, I placed second! You can watch my talk here: