We speak to Zanne Domoney-Lyttle to mark Day 5 of the 16 Days of Activism.
Tell us about yourself…who are you and what do you do?
I’m Zanne Domoney-Lyttle, and I am a Biblical Studies tutor (Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew language) at the University of Glasgow.
What’s your involvement with The Shiloh Project?
Other than admiring the work of The Shiloh Project from afar, I am a member of the Project, contributing to the blog posts. I hope to become more involved as the Project develops.
How does The Shiloh Project relate to your work?
My PhD research focuses on remediations of Genesis in comic books. One of the things that kept coming to the fore throughout my research was the representation of women in the text, especially in relation to motherhood and the use and abuse of women’s bodies as ways of fulfilling the expectations/needs of the patriarchs. Since submitting my thesis, my work has moved away from looking into the text, and towards looking at how reading these problematic texts of the use and abuse of women’s bodies shapes and informs our attitudes towards women and – on a larger scale – gender, today.
My next research project is concerned with appropriation and reappropriation of the Hebrew Bible in marginalised communities – ways that we can read the text which either give a voice to, or which further silence women in subcultural “underground” communities like punks, underground comix and graffiti art, for example.
The Shiloh Project is already highlighting work done in these fields – but more than that, it is a community which encourages and explores the problem of rape culture and religion from new perspectives too. It is an important resource to me, not just in terms of finding out information, but in connecting me to other people who can help shape and define what I’m interested in. In the world of academia, and especially in something like Biblical Studies which is traditionally white, male and class-driven, it’s exciting to see such relevant work being done by people of colour, women, feminists and so on.
How do you think The Shiloh Project’s work on religion and rape culture can add to discussion about gender activism today?
There are many ways The Shiloh Project adds to discussions about gender activism, many of which I’ve highlighted above – the building of communities which challenge traditional discourse in this area, the encouragement that there are other people who feel like I do. Most importantly for me though, is that the existence of the Project is a space to challenge assumptions and ignorance. For example, the Bible is often used to authorise or legitimise certain behaviours, mostly because people are happy to pick and choose bits of biblical text to support an idea without looking at the wider context or implications both within the text itself, and as a result of reading the text. Challenging these assumptions or even encouraging different interpretations of the Bible is so important – now more than ever – and for me, I have the space to do this within the scope of The Shiloh Project.
What’s next for your work with The Shiloh Project?
I have a few more ideas in mind in terms of contributing blog posts to the Project over the next year, and I’m really looking forward to meeting other members in April 2018, where I can learn more about what the project wants to achieve and how I can fit into those aims. Most of all though, I’m going to continue admiring it from afar and sharing the work that the Project has been doing with as many people as I can.