This notice contains information for individuals who meet the criteria of the seminar to consider applying for membership.

Sponsorship and Administration of Seminar:
The five-year seminar has been approved by the Program Committees of both the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature beginning in year 2000. It is also being sponsored by our own emerging organization, the Guild for Academic Images Research (GAIR). GAIR's website -- GuildZone -- will be the electronic "home" for the seminar. Initially the seminar is being chaired by Jon L. Berquist (Chalice Press) and James W. Flanagan (CWRU). Steering committee members are:

Professor Claudia V. Camp, Texas Christian University
Professor Charles E. Carter, Seton Hall
Professor David M. Gunn, Texas Christian University
Professor Mary R. Huie-Jolly, Knox College
Professor Burke O. Long, Bowdoin
Professor Keith W. Whitelam, Sheffield
Goals:
Although situated within biblical and religious studies societies, the Seminar will examine an emerging body of research within a wide range of spatial, literary, visual, scientific, and social scientific disciplines that address and refine critical spatiality. These include classic and new studies on theories and methods of space, as well as studies on a broad range of issues where space, place, land, territoriality, and even body, play a role. The Seminar intends to revisit periods and issues within biblical and religious studies that previously were examined, as Edward W. Soja infers (1989, 1996), with sociality and historicality in mind, but without regard for the spatiality that lies embedded in social and cultural worlds. This research will bring spatial issues and spatial phenomena to the fore where they can be examined and interpreted in their own right and can be used to increase knowledge of the societies, texts, and artifacts from Southwestern Asia and the Mediterranean Basin.

Criteria for Membership:
The Steering Committee established clearly articulated qualifications that it expects of its members:

1. Members should be competent in social world, literary, or ideological criticism and interested in engaging in approaches that can be identified as constructs studies, i.e., interdisciplinary.

2. Members should be interested in applying various and sundry theories of spatiality to research topics rather than merely in talking about spaces.

3. Members should want to apply critical spatiality to some data set that will lead to a new understanding of those materials.

4. Members should be willing and adept at engaging electronic modes of communication and sensitive to the potential that the media have for affecting concepts and practices of spatiality.

5. Members must make a long-term commitment (life of the Seminar) to engage in research discussion, and publication on the Seminar's or related topics.

6. It is strongly preferred that each member will contribute individual publications that will build a library of studies on spatiality in ancient southwestern Asia either electronically or in hard copy.

Refereeing Proposals:
The Steering Committee will at times invite papers according to approved themes and topics. Other unsolicited papers will be accepted by majority consensus of the committee. Proposals will be accepted only in electronic format so that they may be circulated among Committee members and adjudicated in a timely fashion. Papers will be judged on the basis of their originality, interdisciplinary emphasis, and potential for furthering critical spatial analyses. All approved papers will be posted on the Seminar's website and will be available to the membership of the Seminar and participating societies. This resource will enable to seminar to foster and share scholarship on topics that are not chosen for discussion at the Annual Meeting. Online conferencing programs are available to the members and will be used for discussions that will nurture scholarship in the months between Annual Meetings.

Membership:
According to AAR and SBL regulations, membership in seminars is limited. The Steering Committee, however, notes (appropriately) a spatial issue in this rule and believes that electronic communications, the internet, world wide web, and related technologies have changed circumstances that gave rise to the regulation. It is now possible to engage a larger group of colleagues, exchange ideas frequently, and offer space in the discussions to those who are not members of record for the societies' annual meeting. Hence, we expect that the seminar will attract a solid core of academics who are engaged in research on critical spatiality (the "members of record"), but will also share and enjoy the wisdom of others who wish to be "electronic members," a service that GAIR and GuildZone can provide.

Applying for Membership:
Individuals who wish to apply for membership in the Seminar may do so electronically using GuildZone. We ask two things:

1. Please fill out the form found at www.cwru.edu/affil/GAIR/guild.htm (it may also be reached from www.cwru.edu/affil/GAIR , click on "Guildhall," then "Request access") and send an email to James Flanagan (jwf2@case..edu ) or Jon Berquist (jberquist@aol.com ) telling one of them that you have applied.

2. Please supply a brief statement of your research topic(s) that pertain to critical spatiality. These may be included in the "Biography" section of the electronic form (if space allows) or may be emailed separately to Berquist (jberquist@aol.com ) and Flanagan (jwf2@case.edu ).

Further Information:
Please visit, GAIR and the homepage for the Constructions Seminar .  Additional information will available as the seminar progresses.  Please check again.