New Member of Staff at the UWTSD: Dr Jessica M. Keady

New Member of Staff at the UWTSD: Dr Jessica M. Keady

In this blog we are finding out more about one of the newest members of staff at UWTSD, Dr Jessica M. Keady, Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies.

Where were you before you came to UWTSD?
In 2011, I secured Arts and Humanities Research Council funding to complete a PhD in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester and I graduated in July 2015.

From October 2015 – February 2017, I worked as a Researcher in Biblical Studies and Gender at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester and taught on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules and worked on a funded project entitled, Sexuality and Anglican Identities. I also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In March 2017, I secured funding as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Academy of Finland, Centre of Excellence (Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions), University of Helsinki, where I worked on masculinities and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In September 2017, I was appointed as a Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David.

What areas do you research?

My main research interests are based on Second Temple Jewish texts and their ancient/social context. I am particularly interested in the portrayal of gender in the Dead Sea Scrolls (especially as portrayed in the sectarian manuscripts) and the constructions of Jewish purity and impurity laws. My first monograph, Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls has recently been published (Library of Second Temple Studies 91, Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017) used theories from Gender Studies to investigate the purity texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls. By using methodological insights from Masculinity Studies, embodiment theories, and the understandings of the social scientific every day, I was able to broaden the current abstract critique of Jewish purity laws to include a wider range of gender issues and permit exploration of the male experience, which is currently poorly understood. I am currently researching for a second monograph on the topic of gendered positioning, focusing particularly on masculinities, in the War Texts.

What are you teaching?
I currently teach Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism to undergraduate students on a variety of degree programmes. I also teach and supervise postgraduate students on the MA in Biblical Interpretation, Graduate Diploma in Bible and Theology and towards the teaching of the Interfaith Professional Doctorate Programme.

Since starting work at UWTSD, what have you enjoyed most?

I especially like writing and presenting lectures for undergraduate and postgraduate students and thinking of new activities that I can do with the class. For example, I have recently taught a Level 4 class on the Book of Ruth, which included looking at different artistic perspectives of Ruth from a 20th and 21st Century perspective. This semester, I have had great opportunities to present my research at conferences. This month, I have presented two papers at the Annual Society of Biblical Literature Meeting, which was held in Boston, MA (separate blog to follow on this event) and I have presented at the UWTSD, Past Peoples, Present Society Research Seminar Series on ‘The Performance of Masculinities in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The War Scroll as a Case Study.’
I am looking forward to seeing what the next semester brings.

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