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SBL Women’s Archive

The number of women and the positions they hold in the Society of Biblical Literature have been increasing since Anna Ely Rhoads joined in 1894. The women of SBL bring unique perspectives to the field of biblical studies, teach and mentor students, and support guild initiatives by serving as editors, program chairs, committee members, and officers. To honor women’s accomplishments on the 125th anniversary of the first woman joining the SBL and to consider the unique challenges they continue to face, the Society is developing a digital archive to preserve the stories of women in the guild. In this archive, women members are invited to share their personal stories through video, audio, pictorial, and written reflections. Submissions will become part of the official SBL archival records, and select contributions will be featured in a forthcoming digital exhibition on women and the Society of Biblical Literature. It is our hope that this will become the first of many archive projects that will preserve the unique experience of members from a guild that continues to grow, change, and become more inclusive.

Reflection Guidelines

We invite you to share a brief reflection on your experience as a woman in the Society of Biblical Literature. You can talk about whatever you like, but the most engaging stories are those that take the reader on a journey. We encourage you to share a specific opportunity, challenge, or choice that you have experienced and consider how the experience fits into the larger experience of women in the Society of Biblical Literature. As you record your reflection, consider how you felt or what you were thinking during the experience. Is there anything you would like to say to someone who may be going through a similar experience?

Begin your reflection by sharing a few basic details about yourself:

  • What is your name?
  • What is your professional affiliation? (e.g., freelance editor, assistant professor at the University of XXX, pastor at XXX church, graduate student at XXX University)

Then record your story. Below are some suggested prompts to consider. Please do not feel compelled to talk about all of these topics. If you have more to say, consider submitting an additional reflection.

  • Why did you become a biblical studies scholar (or scholar in an associated field)?
  • Where did you receive your most advanced degree? With whom did you study? (Students are welcome to discuss their current locations.)
  • Who has been the most important influence in your career?
  • Tell us about your first SBL experience.
  • Share an anecdote from an SBL meeting.
  • Share a unique perspective that you, as a woman, bring to the academic study of the Bible.
  • Reflect on a challenge that you have faced as a woman biblical scholar.

* We encourage you to reflect candidly on the challenges that women have faced and continue to face as members of SBL, even when those challenges do not present SBL in a positive light. However, participants are asked to avoid personal attacks.


Please choose one of the following submission formats:

  1. Video or Audio Self-Reflection: Record your own video or audio reflection focusing one or more of the above questions.
    Duration: 3–5 minutes
    File format: In most cases, the default video settings on an iPhone or android phone will be sufficient.
  2. Text Self-Reflection: Record your reflection in a brief written essay.
    Length: 500–1,500 words
    File format: .doc or .docx
  3. Video or Audio Peer Reflection: Partner with a colleague and create a video or audio dialogue between the two of you addressing one or more of the above themes.
    Duration: 7–10 minutes
    File format: In most cases, the default video settings on an iPhone or android phone will be sufficient.

Recommendations for video and audio recording:

  • Choose a quiet location with minimal background noise and distractions.
  • Find a comfortable chair without wheels.
  • Avoid rooms with high ceilings, open windows, and bare walls.
  • Turn off or minimize the sound of noisy electronics such as air conditioners, phones, and television sets.
  • Relocate pets to a separate room for the duration of the recording.
  • If you are recording video, consider the background. Full bookcases in the background, for instance, can make your reflection look more professional.
  • If you are filming video from a cell phone or tablet, please record in landscape (not portrait) mode.


We also encourage members to submit photographs that record the history of women in the Society of Biblical Literature (e.g., photographs from regional, International, and Annual Meetings or local lectures). All recognizable persons must sign a release form. Please include a caption with the image that indicates the names and affiliations of the individuals featured in the photograph, the name of the photographer, the location that the photograph was taken, and the date.

Who may participate?

Participation in this archival project is free and open to all past or current SBL members who self-identify as women, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, academic rank, institutional affiliation, or geographic location.


Contributors retain full copyright on their submissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, please see the project’s FAQ.


When you are ready to submit your contribution, please email to receive a link to the submission portal.



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