Faculty & Student Report: American Academy of Religion Gathering

Written by Kristina Alvarado
December 18, 2014

This past month, four faculty and one current student joined and led eclectic and relevant discussions as a part of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and Society of Biblical Literature?s (SBL) annual meeting?in San Diego, California ? November 21st through 25th. The conference is the largest gathering of religion and theological scholars and practitioners in the world. Scholars and practitioners present on various topics and issues in a wide variety of fields, workshops ranging from teaching to professional development, plenary sessions. For example, a session was offered this year by President Jimmy Carter. Various networking opportunities additionally add to the conference program.

At this 2014 conference, Dr. Guardiola-Saenz presided over the ?Minoritized Criticism and Biblical Interpretation? session, and was a panelist at both the ?Bible and Cultural Studies: Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible? and ?Latino/a and Latin American Biblical Interpretation? conversations.?

Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda led the session entitled ?Climate Debt, Race Debt, Climate Colonialism: Forging a Just Future.?

Dr. Erica Martin presented at the Society of Biblical Literature?s ?Qur?an and Biblical Literature? as well as ?Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies.??

The school?s new Director of Contextual Education and faculty member, Dr. Mark Chung Hearn, attended the gathering as well?to observe, listen, and learn.

Current student Nindyo Sasongko, in the MA in Transforming Spirituality program, attended and presented a paper in the session of "Human Ends: Deification, Transformation, and Human Freedom," in the Christian Systematic Theology Section of the gathering. The title of Nindyo's paper was ?Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Erotic Experience: The Passionate Mysticism of Hadewijch of Brabant and the Question of Sexuality.? ?Ideas for his presentation stemmed from none other than Dr. Valerie Lesniak?s History of Spirituality course, as well as the History of Medieval Christianity course taught by Dr. Mike Raschko. Nindyo shared with us: "Thanks to Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry! Here I learn with experts in theology who are also teachers who make theology in-touch with daily life. ?It is not easy to find a school in a university setting where you can find a balance between theory and practice."

Dr. Mark Chung Hearn commented on his experience:

?Attending the 2014 AAR/SBL conference this year in San Diego was truly special. As a new faculty member of Seattle University, it was great to see four of our own (Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz, Dr. Erica Martin, Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and student, Nindyo Sasongko) provide leadership through paper presentations, panel discussions, and presiding. The sessions I attended particularly on Practical Theology and Teaching for Diversity, were insightful and engaging. I especially enjoyed listening to President Jimmy Carter, whose humble and yet, powerful eloquence was on display in his speech discussing women?s equality and climate change.

I was also proud to connect with colleagues from my past and to be able to share with them the good story of what is transpiring at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry. I had a conversation with a former graduate-school colleague and we shared how rewarding and enjoyable serving at our respective Jesuit institutions is on account of its emphasis of attending to the whole person whether the person is a student, staff, faculty, or administrative member.?

Congratulations to Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz, Dr. Erica Martin, Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and student, Nindyo Sasongko on their participation in these important conversations!

For more information on the American Academy of Religion, visit here.?
For more information on the Society of Biblical Literature, visit here.?