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Susan G. Carter, Ph.D.

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Chair, MA in Interdisciplinary Studies Department
Flavia Hall


Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies
MA, California Institute of Integral Studies
BA, Lewis & Clark College

Classes Taught

Introduction to Scholarly Inquiry
Asian Sacred Literature
Sacred Literature: Abrahamic Tradition
Creation Stories: Then and Now
Spirituality: Personal & Communal Experience
Compassion in Action: Service Learning
Partnership: A Model for Personal & Cultural Transformation
Women's Spirituality
Motherline Heritage: Learning from & Honoring Our Ancestors
Thesis I, II, III


Dr. Susan Carter believes learning is most effective when coupled with relevant direct application to the daily lives of students and contemporary issues. This is why she develops courses with action, experiential and community engagement components, which are structured to expand the dynamic possibilities of academic studies, cross-cultural understanding and collaborative community social change work. She is published and speaks internationally on these topics.

Susan's academic and personal interests come together with the study of spirituality and prehistoric symbolism and art as an expression of ancient spiritual traditions. Expanding on this interest she co-chairs the arts and religion program unit of the Pacific Northwest region's American Academy of Religion annual meeting. She was named president of the regional organization in May 2014.

Interested in the critical intersections of spirituality, women's studies, and the process of social change, Susan travels widely, and studies and volunteers with various national and international nonprofit organizations.

At Marylhurst, Susan serves as a member on a wide variety of university committees and has co-chaired the Faculty Development Committee. She also teaches courses and chairs and serves on doctoral dissertation committees at The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, California.

Selected Presentations

Caring Economics: Not a Contradiction in Terms.
Servant Leadership Conference, Marylhurst University, 2012.

The Divine Female Sun as Depicted in Japanese Religion and the Arts. Pacific Northwest Regional American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Concordia University, Portland, OR, 2012.

Spirited Images: Rock Carvings as Spiritual Expression in Ancient Scandinavia. Pacific Northwest Regional American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, 2011.

Impermanence in the Enduring Arts of Japan: Heian and Kamakura periods. Pacific Northwest Regional American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada, 2010.

Written in Stone: Ancient Scandinavian Rock Art. Scandinavian Heritage Foundation Lecture Series. Portland State University World Language Center, Portland, OR, 2010.

The Japanese Sun Goddess: How Her History is Informing "History in the Making" Today. Western Association of Women Historians 38th Annual Conference, Pacific Grove, CA, 2006.

Building Bridges between Campus and Community: Models of Civic Engagement for the New Academy. Community Based Learning: A Model and Practice of Community Building. American Association of Colleges and Universities National Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 2005.

Engaged Spirituality in Higher Education: Implications for the Paradigm Shift. 28th International Conference on Improving Learning and Teaching at the University Vaxjo University, Vaxjo, Sweden, 2003.

Community-Based Learning and Activism: A Call to Action. 27th International Conference on Improving Learning and Teaching at the University, Vilnius Pedagogical University, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2002.

Amaterasu-o-mi-kami: Great Ancestor of the Emperor and Mother of the Japanese Nation. American Academy of Religion National Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, 2001.

Selected Publications / Media:

Archaeomythology: An Interdisciplinary Template for Practical Application. Forthcoming: The Journal of Archaeomythology. 2012.       

Transformative Leadership: From Domination to Partnership. Co-authored with Riane Eisler. Revision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation. 30, no. 3 & 4 (2010): 104-112.

Dogu Figures of Ancient Japan. The Journal of Archaeomythology. 5: 41-60 (Winter 2009).  

The Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu: From Ancient Matristic Roots to Contemporary Cultural Relevance. In Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past Present and Future, edited by Heide Gottner-Abendroth, 394-404. Toronto, Canada: Inanna Publications and Education, Inc., 2009.

Athena and the Mirror. Article in the anthology, She is Everywhere. Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, ed. iUniverse, 2005.

Amaterasu-o-mi-kami: Past and Present. An Exploration of the Japanese Sun Goddess from a Western, Feminist Perspective. Dissertation accepted by the Asian Art Museum's permanent library collection. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, California. 2001.

The Changing Face of Shinto: Culture, History and Gender in Japan's "Way of the Kami." Symposium Video. Archived in the Asian Art Museum library. 2002.


Excellence in Academic Service & Teaching, Marylhurst University (2012)

Alumna Appreciation Award, The California Institute of Integral Studies, Philosophy and Religion Program/Women's Spirituality Department (2008)

Related News

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Susan Carter Gives Keynote at Regional Conference

Dr. Susan Carter, current president of the Pacific Northwest region's American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature, will give the presidential address at the 2015 regional meeting and conference at Marylhurst University in March 2015.

Mary's Woods Ranked #2 in Nation

Mary's Woods at Marylhurst was ranked #2 in the nation among university-based retirement communities in 2014, in part due to the tuition discount residents receive at Marylhurst University.


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Careers in Aging Week. A panel discussion on new careers to support health and creativity across the lifespan is being jointly presented by Marylhu...


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With MAIS alum Susan Cazier. This workshop will consist of a brief history of dance and how dance movement can lead to holistic wellness. Also, hea...


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Marylhurst University Day at Mary's Woods

As part of our on-going partnership with Mary's Woods, join us for our monthly Marylhurst Day at Mary's Woods. Activities take place throughout the...


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