Join us at 9:30 am Pacific on Thursday, February 16th for the sixth lecture in the Badè Museum‘s virtual series, “Women & Gender Performance in the Ancient Middle East.” This program is hosted by the Badè Museum in partnership with the Archaeological Research Facility (ARF) at UC Berkeley.
Dr. Jessie Degrado will present “Women Priests and Orientalist Fantasies: A New Look at the Mesopotamian Qadištu”
Jessie DeGrado is assistant professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan. He studies the history and religions of the ancient Middle East with a focus on forms of sociopolitical hegemony, such as gender and empire. More broadly, he is interested in how modern history and politics affectour reconstruction of the past, including the legacy of Orientalism in Assyriology and biblical studies. His current book project engages postcolonial theory to explore the relationship between the Neo-Assyrian Empire and its client states, taking Judah as a case study. The paper presented today is part of another project on gender transgression and religious authority in ancient Mesopotamia. DeGrado argues that Mesopotamian temples provide a productive locus for studying complex and often contradictory expressions of gender because they normal the transgression of certain boundaries in the context of religious ritual. This allows us to study cases where gendered aspects of a person’s social status, professional obligations, and identity do not necessarily align, and explore how figures can be marginalized in some contexts precisely because they are empowered in others.