Texts of Terror: The Bible, Gender Violence, and Contemporary Crime Narratives

University of Auckland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Texts of Terror: The Bible, Gender Violence, and Contemporary Crime Narratives

  • Host University

    University of Auckland

  • Location

    Auckland, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Religion, Research, Theology, Women's and Gender Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Project Description
    Why have images of abused and violated women remained a ubiquitous part of the cultural imagination across space and time – from biblical traditions up to the present day? ‘Texts of Terror’ tackles this question, interrogating the incessant portrayal of gendered violence in both biblical and contemporary narratives. Specifically, it explores the intertextual connections between biblical texts and crime fiction (including crime novels, film, and drama), investigating their mutual preoccupation with depictions of gender-based violence. Using an intersectional feminist lens, this project analyses the rhetoric of gender-based violence evoked in these texts, uncovering the gendered discourses encoded in (verbal and visual) images of women’s murdered, missing, and violated bodies. What ideological and cultural rhetoric is inscribed on these women’s bodies, and how might this rhetoric either sustain or challenge popular (mis)understandings of gender-based violence? Moreover, how do social, national, religious, and political identities shape narratives of gender violence in both the Bible and contemporary crime texts? Using some key crime narrative texts as a case study (Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, the films based on these novels, and the subsequent novels by David Lagercrantz), the ‘Texts of Terror’ project will delve into these questions.

    Researcher’s Work
    The researcher will be tasked with exploring and analysing depictions of gender violence in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, the films based on these novels, and the subsequent novels by David Lagercrantz. Their primary pieces of work will involve:

    • Locating and analysing scholarly works and media sources (including news articles, blog posts, film reviews, etc.) that discuss the Millennium novels and films, as well as related literature on representations of gender-based violence in other Scandinavian crime fiction narratives.
    • Compiling an annotated bibliography (c.3000 words) of these sources, which will provide a brief synopsis of each source, as well as a summary of the central themes, approaches, and critical issues expressed therein.
    • The scholar will also write a blog post (c.2000 words) based on their research findings that will be published on the Shiloh Project website.

    Required Skills/Pre-requisites

    The perfect research assistant for this project will be passionate about investigating the ways that popular crime fiction narratives might shape audiences’ understandings of gender-based violence. They will also share my commitment to creating academic research that serves as critic and conscience to communities beyond the confines of the University. More practically, the scholar will have excellent research and writing skills, which they are looking to develop further, and a competency in using library databases and web-based searches to find relevant material for their research. They should also be familiar with intersectional feminist approaches to textual analysis, and be able to use this methodology when studying various media forms (including academic writings, film, literature, news media).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.