The ‘resident alien’ is a category in the modern bureaucracy of immigration, and also a ghostly ancient figure in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions of Hagar (the ‘resident alien’). In this talk, Professor Sherwood explores how this strange female-Egyptian twin of Abraham--who is there before, and supports and enables, the ‘true’ family—profoundly unsettles bloodlines, nations, families, and borders. She also relates Hagar to Freud’s Moses, and previous attempts to draw on strange old biblical figures to make Euro-American ‘identities’ strange to themselves.
Yvonne Sherwood is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kent, UK. Recent books include Biblical Blaspheming: Trials of the Sacred for a Secular Age and The Invention of the Biblical Scholar: A Critical Manifesto. She is currently running research networks on Blasphemies and working on a book on ‘the Hagaramic’. She is also completing a major research project Between Abraham and ‘the Modern’: Religion, Secularity, Authority and Critique.
Co-sponsored by Barnard College's Department of Religion.