January 29 2020

2017 Upper Midwest Region Call for Papers

Map of the Upper Midwest Region

2017 Upper Midwest Regional Meeting

Luther Seminary
St. Paul, Minnesota
March 31–April 1, 2017

2017 Call for Papers

SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL: Proposals can be submitted beginning September 30, 2016, at the Upper Midwest website: http://www.umw-aarsbl.org.

The submission deadline is January 6, 2017.

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 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 Martin Luther Study Group invites investigations of Luther's biblical exegesis, with particular attention to how his understanding of the Bible both influenced and was influenced by other religious groups/traditions. The group welcomes papers with a historical focus, as well as papers that connect Luther's exegesis and understanding of "the other" with contemporary inter-religious and intercultural issues.

Bill Russell, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN

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.

Vanessa Williams, Fordham University, NY

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 2017, the session is particularly interested in receiving papers treating contemporary visual art with a theological focus on matters pertaining to immigration and migration. We are open but not limited to papers treating the visual, musical, literary, and dramatic arts. 

Kim Vrudny, 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, make use of new media, 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, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University and 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

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.

Travel Grants for Graduate Students

The Upper Midwest region is pleased to announce the availability of a limited number of awards to graduate students for completed papers. The Upper Midwest AAR/SBL Student Travel Grant is competitive. $250 and two nights of housing at Luther Seminary during the conference will be awarded to a small number of graduate students on the basis of a submitted paper, of appropriate length for a 20-minute presentation. To apply, please submit papers to Murphy Pizza (mpizza@smumn.edu) and Elaine James (etjames@stkate.edu) with the subject line “Submission: UMW Student Paper Travel Grant Competition” by December 20, 2016.

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 Michael Chan (mchan002@luthersem.edu).

Keynote Speakers

The SBL plenary speaker for 2017 is Blake Leyerle, of the University of Notre Dame.

The AAR plenary speaker for 2017 is Anant Rambachan, of St. Olaf College.

Upper Midwest Regional Officers 

Regional Coordinator: Michael Chan, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN mchan002@luthersem.edu
President: Maggie Odell, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MNVice President: Elaine James, St. Catherine University, MN
Program Committee: Eric Baretto, Luther Seminary, St Paul, MN
Student Representative: Joshua Reno, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN


Regional Coordinator: Courtney Wilder, Midland University, Fremont NE wilder@midlandu.edu

President: William Russell, Collegeville Institute, Collegeville, MN

Vice-President: Murphy Pizza, St Catherine’s University, St Paul, MN and Minneapolis College of Arts and Design, MN, St. Mary’s University of MN
Program Committee: Terry Kleven, Central College, Pella, IA

Student Representative: Gwendolyn Gilson, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA