January 29 2020

Upper Midwest Region

Map of the Upper Midwest Region

2018 Upper Midwest Regional Meeting

University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, Minnesota
April 13–April 14, 2018

2018 Call for Papers

SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL: Please email your proposal to umaar.sbl@gmail.com The submission deadline is January 6, 2018. 

All presenters at the regional meeting (excluding undergraduate students) should be members (whether student or full) of one of the three participating societies.

For Master’s Students: The region encourages MA students to present outstanding papers. Paper proposals from MA students must be accompanied by the nomination of a faculty advisor: Please include the name and contact information of the faculty advisor in your submission.

For Undergraduates:  The Upper Midwest regional meeting includes undergraduate papers, reflecting the preponderance of undergraduate institutions in the region. The region welcomes the full scholarly participation of undergraduate members in the meeting.

Please note the following requirements for undergraduate papers:

  • Undergraduates may submit paper proposals for the Undergraduate Research Sessions only.  
  • Each institution may propose only two undergraduate papers; faculty at the students’ institutions are responsible for selecting the two papers for submission.
  • Undergraduate students should complete the online submission form in the Oxford Abstracts Registration Program.
  • Each undergraduate paper must include the name and email address of the faculty sponsor at the end of the paper abstract. The Undergraduate Research Sessions are convened by Bruce Forbes, Morningside College, Sioux City, IA.

Joint AAR/SBL Sessions

Multicultural Perspectives on Theology, Religion and Biblical Interpretation

This section seeks papers that address theology, religion, or the Bible from diverse racial, ethnic, and demographic perspectives in conversation with analysis of other forms of difference.

Bernon Lee, Bethel University, MN and Victor Ezigbo, Bethel University, MN

Teaching Religion, Theology, and the Bible

This section welcomes proposals on topics that explore pedagogical issues specific to the teaching of religion, theology and the Bible in undergraduate, graduate, or seminary settings.  Analyses of educational theory, teaching practices, practical tips and ideas, and the ways values affect teaching and learning are encouraged.  In addition to papers, presentations may include opportunities to engage participants in activities or discussion.

Suzanne Hequet, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN

Women in the Bible

Submissions are sought on topics having to do with women and the Bible. This includes papers or creative presentations dealing with women who appear in biblical texts or with feminist, womanist, or mujerista readings of biblical texts. In addition, this section deals with the reception of biblical texts by a woman or women throughout history, or discussions of how a text has affected women at different points in time.

Susan Myers, University of St Thomas, St Paul, MN

Martin Luther Study Group: The Life of Luther

The 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses has prompted the publication of numerous Luther biographies. Ergo, we invite analyses of the current state of the scholarly understanding of Luther's life: Is there a particular biography that stands out above the rest? Are there persistent legends that continue to make their respective ways into accounts of the Reformer's life (or important aspects that are still overlooked)? What makes a good Luther biography "good"? Papers may dive deeply into a single volume or compare and contrast numerous titles. 

 Bill Russell, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN

Religion and Popular Culture: Special Topic

This session invites papers that explore the intersection of religion and popular culture, including music, literature, film, television, social media, podcasts, comics, graphic novels, anime, video games, etc. Papers exploring both religious influence on popular culture and popular cultural shaping of religious practices and doctrines are welcome.

Courtney Wilder, Midland University, Fremont, NE

AAR Sessions


This section seeks papers related to the integration of religion and ethics. Papers from both practical and analytical perspectives are welcome, as well as papers that explore the impact of religion on the personal ethics of the individual and/or the relationship between religion and social ethics.

Historical Perspectives on Religion

This section seeks papers dealing with the theological, cultural, intellectual, and institutional history of all religious traditions. With 2017 being the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses, papers dealing with any aspect of the Reformation are especially encouraged.

Jim Kroemer, Concordia University, Mequon, WI

Religions in North America

This section seeks proposals analyzing religious traditions, practices, and communities in North America from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.

Murphy Pizza, St. Catherine University/Minneapolis College of Art and Design/St. Mary’s University of MN

Religion and Science

This section encourages proposals that engage the intersection of religion and science as an academic discipline. A wide range of topics are welcome, especially those that look at current issues in religion/science debate, methodology, and the historical engagement of religion and science. Scholars from all disciplines are welcome to submit, both from the humanities and the sciences. In the spirit of creating themed sections, proposals that engage psychology, cognitive science, and religion are especially encouraged, but all relevant proposals are welcome.

George Tsakiridis, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Religion and Ecology

Submissions are welcome on any aspect of the study of religion and ecology, including issues related to politics, globalization, environmentally related legal decisions, and religious responses to natural disasters. Submissions on the historical treatment of the environment by religious persons and/or groups are especially encouraged. 

Religion, Theology, and the Arts 

Submissions are welcome on all topics examining the theoretical, historical, and/or practical interrelationships among religion, theology, spirituality, and the arts. In 2018, the session is particularly interested in receiving papers treating the role of visual art, past or present, in acts of protest. We are open but not limited to papers treating the visual, musical, literary, and dramatic arts. 

Jennifer Awes-Freeman, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Religion, Gender and Sexuality

Submissions are welcome on all topics that explore the intersections between religious ideas and constructions of gender and/or sexuality. This section consolidates the women & religion and religion & sexuality sections.

C. Neal Keye, College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN

Philosophy of Religion/Systematic Theology

This section invites papers that examine the interface between philosophy and religion, including both philosophical positions within religion and philosophy of religion more generally, as well as constructive theological work in dialogue with both historical traditions and aspects of the contemporary context.

Andres Albertsen, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN

Interreligious and Interfaith Studies

This section invites proposals that critically examine modes of response to religious pluralism and the relations between and among religious traditions and persons from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We welcome proposals that are interdisciplinary, incorporate alternative pedagogies of presentation, and reflect the dialogical nature of this field. In addition to encouraging critical analysis of local, regional, national, and international interfaith organizational models and other praxis-oriented responses to religious pluralism, we also welcome papers that map the discourse of interreligious studies.

Hans Gustafson, University of St. Thomas, MN

World Religions

Submissions are welcomed on any topics related to religious traditions other than Judaism and Christianity, or topics that involve comparative reflection on more than one religious tradition.  

Michael Baltutis, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Religion and Social Science Perspectives: Special Topic

This section seeks proposals focused on the intersection of social sciences (including but not limited to psychology, anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and cultural studies) and religious or theological studies.

Murphy Pizza, St. Catherine University/Minneapolis College of Art and Design/ St. Mary’s University of MN

New Religions

This section seeks papers relating to religious movements less than 150 years old, as well as recent sects and movements emerging from historical traditions, worldwide, from a wide range of disciplinary approaches.

Murphy Pizza, St. Catherine University/Minneapolis College of Art and Design/ St. Mary’s University of MN

SBL Sessions

Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

The OT/HB session welcomes paper proposals that engage biblical texts across a broad range of approaches, including historical, literary, linguistic, theological, or interdisciplinary approaches, as well as proposals that address methodological issues relevant to the field of biblical studies.

Sean Burt, North Dakota State University, ND and Elaine James, St. Catherine University, MN

New Testament

Exegetical studies of specific texts, theological or thematic examinations, and methodological proposals are welcome.

Daniel Scholz, Cardinal Stritch University, WI

Early and Late-Antique Christianity

Welcomes papers on any topic dealing with the history, literature, thought, and practices of early Christianity, broadly conceived, from the first century through the post-Nicene era.

Mark DelCogliano, University of St Thomas, St Paul, MN

Early Judaism

The Early Judaism and Jewish Studies section welcomes proposals concerned with aspects of Jewish literature, history, or culture from antiquity to the present. Panels concerned with Judaism in antiquity will be listed as SBL sessions pending sufficient interest. Panels concerned with Judaism in the Middle Ages and modernity will be listed as AAR sessions pending sufficient interest.

Joshua Ezra Burns, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Archaeology and Excavation Reports

All topics pertaining to the archaeology of the ancient Near East including excavation updates and summaries of work in progress are welcome.

Mark Schuler, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN

Additional Information

Multiple Submissions

Scholars may submit only one paper proposal to one session of the Upper Midwest regional meeting.

Questions and Other Topics

Questions about the upcoming meeting or the appropriate section for proposals should be directed to Courtney Wilder, Midland University, wilder@midlandu.edu. Proposals for papers or topics not listed in the call for papers are to be brought to her attention.

Graduate Student Paper Award

Each year the Upper Midwest Regional Student Paper Prize is awarded to an outstanding graduate student paper. The winner will receive a cash prize of $250 and housing for one night during the conference. To apply, graduate students should submit a copy of their conference paper (limit twelve pages) to umaar.sbl@gmail.com by January 6th, 2018. Please write "UMAAR/SBL Student Paper Award Application" in the email subject line. The award recipient will be announced at the Friday evening reception at the conference. 

SBL Members: Regional Scholars Program

This year the Upper Midwest Region will again participate in the Regional Scholar Program of the Society of Biblical Literature. Beginning scholars (less than four years from receiving a terminal degree) may request information on this program by emailing Corrine Carvalho, clcarvalho@stthomas.edu.

Keynote Speakers

The SBL plenary speaker for 2018 is Bernard Levinson of the University of Minnesota.

The AAR plenary speaker for 2018 is Amos Yong of Fuller Theological Seminary.

Upper Midwest Regional Officers 

Society of Biblical Literature

Regional Coordinator: Corrine Carvalho, St. Thomas University, Minneapolis, MN CLCARVALHO@stthomas.edu
President: Elaine James, St. Catherine University, MN
Vice President: John Burnight, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Program Committee: John Martens, St. Thomas University, Minneapolis, MN
Student Representative: Jeff Cross, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

American Academy of Religion 

Regional Coordinator: Courtney Wilder, Midland University, Fremont NE wilder@midlandu.edu
President: Murphy Pizza, St Catherine’s University, St Paul, MN and Minneapolis College of Arts and Design, MN, St. Mary’s University of MN
Vice-President: Terry Kleven, Central College, Pella, IA
Program Committee:  
Student Representative: Emma Rifai, University of Iowa