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Status of Women in the Profession Committee - Activities
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Interview with Jackie Hidalgo on the SBL Status of Women in the Profession Committee

The Status of Women in the Profession Committee supports and, when necessary, advocates for the female members of the SBL by:
  • Tracking the academic and professional situations of women in Biblical Studies and related fields
  • Creating forums for women members to discuss academic and professional issues and conditions
  • Providing mentoring and networking opportunities
It seeks to open the Society to greater participation by women and to call attention to the various ways in which the Society speaks to and about women. Members of this committee serve a three-year term, renewable for a second term. CSWP advocates for:
  • The development of programs and policies that support the full inclusion of women in the activities of SBL
  • Information-gathering regarding women's experiences within the academy at all career stages
  • Women biblical scholars in contexts beyond the Society
  • Developing policies and monitoring complaints of sexual harassment and ethical misconduct

Committee Handbook

CSWP also has an active Facebook page that facilitates discussion.

The Status of Women in the Profession Outstanding Service in Mentoring Awards

Each year at the SBL Annual Meeting, CSWP honors women who have been excellent mentors to women in the field. Learn more about CSWP mentor awards here.

Resources on Race and Gender in the Classroom

The CSWP has gathered the following resources for teaching in consideration of race and gender in the classroom:



Members of the committee:



Years of Term

Sonia Kwok Wong 1 2022–2024
Valerie Bridgeman 2 2022–2024
Vanessa Lovelace 1 2023–2025
Meira Kensky (Chair) 2 2023–2025
Caroline Vander Stichele 1 2022–2024
Sophia Johnson 1 2022–2024
Rhiannon Graybill 1 2023–2025
Christine Yoder 1 2023–2025
Julie Claassens 1 2023–2025

Glory Emekeme - Staff Liaison

Member Bios:

  • Valerie Bridgeman is Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as Associate Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. She also is founding president and CEO of WomanPreach! Inc. —the premiere non-profit organization that brings preachers to full prophetic voice. She has been in ordained ministry since 1977. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Bridgeman is active in several professional guilds and has been inducted into the Society for the Study of Black Religion. She also sits on several boards, including the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. She served associate editor and author for The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora. She earned her Ph.D. in biblical studies (Hebrew Bible concentration) and secondary studies in ethics from Baylor University. She earned her master of divinity from Austin Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas and a bachelor of arts degree with a double major of Communication and Religion from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is a peace activist and advocate for human rights, and was inducted into the 2010 class of Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars and Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

  • Sophia Johnson is currently a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Divinity, researching the diachronic development of the conception of “covenant” in the Book of Samuel. In 2022-2023 she is a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) visiting scholar at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Theologische Fakultät. She is also an associated researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Geopolitics, where she co-chairs the Protestant Political Thought project, an interdisciplinary network of scholars exploring the historical and contemporary role of Protestantism in global nationalism and populism. Johnson has edited publications produced from the project including a special issue of the Journal of the Bible and Its Reception on “Old Testament Imaginaries of the Nation in German, Dutch, and Anglo-American Political Thought” and a forthcoming volume on Christian Identity in and beyond the State: European Ecumenical Perspectives. She is the author of several articles, including in the Journal of Biblical Literature, critiquing prevailing paradigms for interpreting “covenant” in the Hebrew Bible. Her most recent research interest investigates how traditionally Protestant ideals have shaped academic trends in biblical studies.

  • Prof Juliana Claassens (PhD Princeton Theological Seminary) is Professor in Old Testament and Head of the Gender Unit at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University. She is the author of Writing and Reading to Survive: Biblical and Contemporary Trauma Narratives in Conversation (Sheffield Phoenix Press 2020); Claiming Her Dignity: Female Resistance in the Old Testament (Liturgical Press, 2016); Mourner, Mother, Midwife: Reimagining God’s Liberating Presence (Westminster John Knox, 2012). She has edited a number of anthologies including Feminist Frameworks and the Bible: Celebrating Intersectionality, Interrogating Power, Embracing Ambiguity (ed. L. Juliana Claassens and Carolyn Sharp; Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017) and Transgression and Transformation: Feminist, Postcolonial and Queer Biblical Interpretation as Creative Interventions (ed. L Juliana Claassens, Christl Maier, Funlola Olojede; Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2021). She currently is working on a commentary on Jonah for OTL (Westminster John Knox) in which she reads Jonah through the lens of trauma hermeneutics as it intersects with gender, postcolonial and queer biblical interpretation.

  • Meira Z. Kensky is currently the Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. Kensky received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (New Testament) from the University of Chicago. Her first book, Trying Man, Trying God: The Divine Courtroom in Early Jewish and Christian Literature, was published by Mohr Siebeck in 2010, and was the inspiration for a conference on “The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective” at Cordozo School of Law in New York. Currently, she is working on her second book, Go To Hell: Vicarious Travel with Peter and Paul in Earliest Christianity, under contract with Wm. B. Eerdmans, and a second book for Mohr Siebeck, Isopsychos: The Figure of Timothy in Early Christian Literature. Recent publications include articles on the Acts of Timothy, Romans 9–11, Tertullian of Carthage’s Apologeticum, and the figure of Timothy in the Pauline and post-Pauline epistles. Kensky has lectured widely around the Chicago and Cedar Rapids areas, and gave the 29th Annual Stone Lectureship in Judaism at Augustana College, IL and the Winter 2016 Dean’s Craft of Teaching Seminar at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She was the recipient of Coe College’s C. J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award in 2013, and currently serves as Coe College’s Director of First-Year Experience. In Fall 2018 she was in residence as a teaching fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago as the co-director of the Associated College of the Midwest’s Newberry Seminar in the Humanities. Currently, Kensky serves on the editorial board for SBL Press’s Early Christianity and Its Literature series.

  • Rhiannon Graybill is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, feminist and queer criticism, and the Bible and literature. Graybill is the author of Are We Not Men? Unstable Masculinity in the Hebrew Prophets and Texts after Terror: Rape, Sexual Violence, and the Hebrew Bible, both published with Oxford University Press. Together with John Kaltner and Steven L. McKenzie, she has co-authored Jonah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary in the Anchor Yale Bible commentary series. She has also edited three books: Rape Culture and Religious Studies: Critical and Pedagogical Engagements (with Cooper Minister and Beatrice Lawrence), The Bible, Gender, and Sexuality: Critical Readings (with Lynn R. Huber), and “Who Knows What We’d Make of It, If We Ever Got Our Hands On It?”: The Bible and Margaret Atwood (with Peter J. Sabo). She holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies, with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, from the University of California, Berkeley (2012).

  • Caroline Vander Stichele is Professor of Impact of the Bible in Western Culture and Head of the Department Texts in Contexts at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (the Netherlands). She is also project leader of the research project Apocalypse and Climate Change (2023-2026), funded by the Dutch Research Council NWO. Her research and publications focus on hermeneutics and the cultural impact of biblical and apocryphal texts, representations of gender in the Bible and beyond, and religion and modern media. Together with Silvia Schroer, she started lectio difficilior, the European Electronic Journal for Feminist Exegesis. She currently serves as Program Unit Chair (with David Shepherd) of the Bible and Visual Culture Program Unit at the International SBL Meeting, as editor of the online journal Bible and the Arts, and co-editor of the Studies of the Bible and Its Reception Series. Her publications include Contextualizing Gender in Early Christian Discourse: Thinking beyond Thecla (2009, with Todd Penner) and several edited collections, among them Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourses (2007, with Todd Penner), Text, Image & Otherness in Children’s Bibles: What is in the Picture? (2012, with Hugh Pyper), Hidden Truths from Eden: Esoteric Readings of Genesis 1-3 (2014, with Susanne Scholz) and Close Encounters between Bible and Film: An Interdisciplinary Engagement (2016, with Laura Copier), as well as numerous articles.



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