Program Units

PROGRAM UNITS

AMERICAN SCHOOLS OF ORIENTAL RESEARCH  (ASOR)
Description of the goals and rationale
The Program Unit is affiliated with the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) whose mission is to initiate, encourage and support research into, and public understanding of, the peoples and cultures of the Near East from the earliest times. As such, the Unit is concerned with:

    • Fostering original research, archaeological excavations, and explorations
    • Encouraging scholarship in basic languages, cultural histories and traditions of the ANE
    • Offering opportunities for all levels of scholarship, especially students, to share their research

Chair
Roger W. Anderson, an ASOR member, is the coordinator of the unit. He currently is an
independent scholar working on the final excavation report for Early Bronze Age Tell el Hesi. He may be reached at rwander48@comcast.net. The term is 3 years and Roger is in the second term (2013-2016).


ARTS AND RELIGION
Description of the goals and rationale
The Arts and Religion section provides a space for interdisciplinary exploration of religion through the arts (in broad contexts). We invite multiple perspectives, embodied passionate scholarship, and rich discussion of the vital role arts have played and continue to play in attempts to create meaning of the human condition, and to address the enduring questions posed by the world’s religions and spiritual traditions.

Co-Chairs
Susan G. Carter (Marylhurst University and The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS); scarter@marylhurst.edu ) and Louise M. Pare (Center for Women in Global Community, Independent Scholar; lmpare849@aol.com ) (second term; 2013-2016)


ASIAN AND COMPARATIVE STUDIES 
Description of the goals and rationale
To promote scholarship in non-Western areas of religion and theology and to assess various comparative methods of investigation.

Chair 
Nick Gier, University of Idaho, ngier@uidaho.edu


HEBREW BIBLE 
Description of the Goals and Rationale
Since the Biblical Hebrew texts are part of the larger category of ‘biblical texts’, the rationale for the Hebrew Bible session falls naturally within the mandate of the SBL, the central purpose of which is “…advancing the academic study of biblical texts and their contexts as well as of the traditions and contexts of biblical interpretation.”

The primary goal of the Hebrew Bible session is to foster study and interaction in the field, more specifically:

      • To promote academic dialogue between scholars in the Pacific Northwest Region.
      • To showcase and promote research in the Hebrew Bible.
      • To advance the quality of research and writing in the area of Hebrew Bible by mentoring and recommending work for publication.
      • To provide mentoring and opportunities for graduate students to present their work to the Hebrew Bible session, thus incorporating new scholars into the greater goals of the SBL.

Chair
Antonios Finitsis (finitsak@plu.edu) (second term: 2013-2016)


HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY AND NORTH AMERICAN RELIGIONS
Description of the goals and rationale
This program unit invites both historians of Christianity and scholars studying North American religions to present their research and engage in collegial discussion of their work. Review panels of selected new works in these fields are also included in the sessions. The section seeks to develop an ongoing dialog and network among participants.

Co-Chairs
Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen, Pacific Lutheran University, ihssenbl@plu.edu
Jon Kershner, jon.kershner@gmail.com


NEW TESTAMENT AND THE WORLD OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY
Description of the goals and rationale
This program unit provides an opportunity to discuss topics in New Testament and related interdisciplinary studies,such as Hebrew Bible and Early Christianity, as well as topics relating to Hellenistic Religions and related literature.While the name of the program unit has recently changed (from New Testament and Hellenistic Religions), the focus of the unit has not, as we strive to be inclusive of a wide range of topics of interest to the study of early Christian writings and the world in which they developed.

Co-Chairs
Ron Clark,George Fox Evangelical Seminary,rclark@georgefox.edu, and Kent L. Yinger (ret.),George Fox Evangelical Seminary,kyinger@georgefox.edu


RELIGION AND SOCIETY
Description of the goals and rationale
The Religion and Society section creates a space for the interdisciplinary analysis of religion, ethics, social science, and current events in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Our goal is to make space for academic presentations and for significant dialogue about them.

Chair
Bruce Hiebert, University Canada West, brucehiebert@shaw.ca
Mari Kim, Independent Scholar, marikim@me.com


SPECIAL TOPICS: MORMON STUDIES
Description of the goals and rationale
This special topic of Mormon Studies promotes the exploration of a wide range of topics relating to Mormonism. This section seeks to provide scholarly inquiry into Mormon history, culture, belief and practice, theology, scripture, and the role of Mormonism in contemporary politics. This section encourages the study of Mormonism from multiple disciplines and methodologies. This section will better equip those in the academy to teach on the subject of Mormonism and actively promotes opportunities for interfaith dialogue.

Co-Chairs
Kirk Caudle (Independent Scholar, mixlom@msn.com) and Susanna Morrill (Lewis & Clark College; smorrill@lclark.edu) (third term; 2012-2015)


STUDY OF ISLAM
Description of the goals and rationale
The Study of Islam Program Unit fosters intellectual exchange and collaboration among regional scholars working in any area of Islamic Studies. In addition to research panels, we host an annual roundtable devoted to a topic of current pedagogical concern, and we have launched an annual film series. We welcome papers from academics at any career stage.

Co-Chairs
Josie Hendrickson, University of Alberta, jnhendri@ualberta.ca
Paul Powers, Lewis & Clark College, ppowers@lclark.edu


THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Description of the goals and rationale
The Theology and Philosophy of Religion Section exists to provide a forum for scholars to critically examine politics, scriptures, ethics, history, art, literature and/or culture from explicitly philosophical and theological perspectives. We welcome diverse perspectives, and encourage the collegiality of frank and open dialogue between and among disciplinary areas.

Co-Chairs
Norman Metzler, Prof Emeritus of Theology, Concordia University, (nmetzler@cu-portland.edu) and Sarah Gallant, Independent Scholar, (smgallant@hotmail.com) (first term 2014-2017)


WOMEN AND RELIGION
Description of the goals and rationale
This section explores the lives of women in religion from antiquity to the modern era. It is a forum for the inquiry into literary and material culture of the activity and presence of women in religion and the history of interpretation. It is also a forum for how female and gender related issues are portrayed in sacred texts.

Co-Chairs 
Elizabeth Goldstein, Gonzaga University, goldstein@gonzaga.edu
Valarie Ziegler, DePauw University, vziegler@depauw.edu