Susan Carter, Adjunct Lecturer in the Women's Spirituality online MA and PhD at CIIS Susan Carter

Adjunct Professor
Women's Spirituality & Transformative Inquiry
Philosophy and Religion Department
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, MA, California Institute of Integral Studies

BA, Lewis and Clark College

Susan Carter holds an M.A. in Women’s Spirituality and a Ph.D. in Humanities/Philosophy of Religion from The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), where she is an adjunct full professor teaching interdisciplinary courses in several departments, including Women's Spirituality, as well as serving on a variety of dissertation committees. 

Susan is also Chair of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) department at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon.  She is active in university governance and co-chairs the Graduate Faculty Council and the Faculty Principles and Policies Committee.

Susan is President of the Pacific Northwest region's American Academy of Religion (AAR) / Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) / American School of Oriental Research (ASOR), and co-chair of the Arts and Religion program unit.  She also serves as consultant to Riane Eisler's Center for Partnership Studies and its initiatives, such as The Caring Economy Campaign (CEC), and the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV).

She serves on the editorial board of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies (a peer reviewed international open-access online journal), for which she has written several articles (The Inner Work of Partnership: Tools for Making the Personal Shift from Domination to Partnership and Partnership Studies in Transformative Education). 

As a feminist scholar and an avid advocate of volunteerism and community-based learning, Susan is actively involved in the non-profit sector, and has served on a number of boards that promote education and empowerment of underserved populations, cross-cultural understanding, and the arts. She has formed and directed a 501[c][3] foundation, and consults with California Bay Area and Pacific Northwest educational institutions to help promote community service. In addition, she presents nationally and internationally on diverse educational, partnership, cultural and spiritual topics.

Susan’s interdisciplinary work is informed by looking to ancient cultures for ideas that may help shape our future.  Her academic and personal interests come together with the study of women’s spirituality and prehistoric symbolism and art as an expression of ancient spiritual traditions.  Her research includes the prehistoric origins of the Japanese sun goddess, linking this goddess’ influence on contemporary political discussion of women’s right of ascendancy to the Chrysanthemum throne.  Additionally, her ancestral roots (and Sami indigenous lineage) inform her research into women’s roles in contemporary Sweden, women’s possible roles in Scandinavian prehistory, Scandinavian mythology, and her special interest in the ancient rock carvings of Sweden.





National Presentations:
American Academy of Religion (Regional and National Meetings)

2014 University of Calgary. Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Regional)

  • Co-chair of "Arts and Religion" section. Individual paper/presentation entitled: "Maps, Metaphors, and Manifestations: Spiritual Continuity in Rock Art, Poetry, and Joiks in Sámi Culture."

2013 Seattle University. Seattle, Washington. (Regional)

  • Co-chair of "Arts and Religion" section. Individual paper/presentation entitled:  "The Mirror: Spiritual Symbol and Icon in Literature and Art throughout the Ages"

2012 Concordia University. Portland, Oregon. (Regional)

  • Co-chair of "Arts and Religion" section. Individual paper/presentation entitled: "The Divine Female Sun as Depicted in Japanese Religion and the Arts: From Ancient Artifacts to Contemporary Anime."

2011 Gonzaga University. Spokane, Washington. (Regional)

  • Co-chair of "Arts and Religion" section. Individual electronic poster presentation (mini- documentary): "Spirited Images: Rock Carvings as Spiritual Expression in Ancient Scandinavia." May 2011.

2010 University of Victoria. Victoria, B.C., Canada. (Regional)

  • Co-Chair/organizer, Special Topic Session: "Arts and Religion." Individual paper/presentation entitled: "Impermanence in the Enduring Arts of Japan: Heian and Kamakura periods." Pacific Northwest Region Annual Meeting. May 2010.

2009 Pacific Lutheran University. Tacoma, Washington. (Regional)

  • Co-Chair/organizer, Special Topic Session: "Arts and Religion." Individual paper/presentation entitled: "Scandinavian Rock Art: A Form of Embodied Spiritual Expression?" Pacific Northwest Region Annual Meeting. April 2009.

2008 George Fox University. Newberg, Oregon. (Regional)

  • "Female Divinity in World Spiritual Traditions: Contemporary Relevance for Women." Panel Organizer, presenter and respondent. Individual paper/ presentation entitled: "Amaterasu-o-mi-kami: The Japanese Sun Goddess and Her Continuing Reign." Women and Religion Section, Pacific Northwest Region Annual Meeting. May 2008.

2007 Graduate Theological Union. Berkeley, California. (Regional) 

  • "Stretching Our View Beyond Received Wisdom: Images of Older Wisdoms from Eastern and Western Spiritual Traditions." Panel organizer and presenter. Individual presentation entitled: "The Sun as Divine Female Symbol: Survived and Subsumed." Religion and the Arts Section, Western Region Annual Meeting. March 2007.

2001 Denver, Colorado. (National) 

  • "Amaterasu-o-mi-kami: Great Ancestor of the Emperor and Mother of the Japanese Nation." Paper presentation. Japanese Religion Section, AAR National Annual Meeting. November 2001.

Other Presentations (selective):

2012 Servant Leadership Conference. Marylhurst University, Portland, Oregon. Presentation and Workshop:

  • "Caring Economics: Not a Contradiction in Terms." March 2012. 

2005 Second World Congress on Matriarchal Studies.

  • "The Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu: From Ancient Matristic Roots to Contemporary Cultural Relevance." Presentation (by invitation only).  Austin, Texas. September 29-October 2, 2005.

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