Paul Vasey to be Columbia’s “Science for Seminaries” Lecturer on Gender Diversity

Paul Vasey to be Columbia’s “Science for Seminaries” Lecturer on Gender Diversity

April 15,2017—Columbia Theological Seminary has invited Dr. Paul Vasey from the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) to be a “Science for Seminaries” lecturer later this month. The lectures are sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

On April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am, Dr. Vasey will present his talk “Beyond the Binary: What the West Can Learn from Non-Western Approaches to Gender Diversity.” This event is open to the public in the Ellis Room of the Richards Center on the Columbia Seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA near Atlanta.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Vasey is a Professor and a Board of Governors Research Chair at the University of Lethbridge. His research has been funded by all three of the Canadian tri-council agencies (NSERC, SSHRC & CIHR) in addition to local, provincial and international agencies such as NIH. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on sexuality and gender and co-editor of two books. His is an Associate Editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Vasey’s work has been the subject of various television documentaries (National Geographic, Discovery Channel, The Nature of Things) and has been reported on in hundreds of newspapers and magazines worldwide including Globe & Mail, New York Times, The Economist, National Geographic, and Oprah Magazine. He has been interviewed on U.S. National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and Radio Netherlands.

About the Talk:

In many cultures, worldwide, more than two genders are recognized. In such places, individuals exist that are perceived as being neither men, nor women. Instead, such individuals are recognized as “third” genders.

Dr. Paul L. Vasey works in two such cultures. Since 2003, he has conducted research in the south Pacific island nation of Samoa, where feminine, same-sex attracted males are recognized as a third gender, known locally as fa’afafine.  Since 2015, he has worked concurrently in the Istmo region of Oaxaca, Mexico, where feminine, same-sex attracted males are recognized as a third gender, known locally by the indigenous Zapotec as muxes.

The speaker will describe his research in both these cultures that illuminate the role third gender males play within the family.

About the Program Series:

Columbia Theological Seminary is one of ten Christian Seminaries part of a pilot program by AAAS for integrating science into core theological curricula. Grants totaling $1.5 million were awarded to the schools for integrating science into the curriculum for at least two core theological courses (such as those in systematic theology, biblical studies, church history, and pastoral theology) over the next two years. This integrated approach will bring science into the core of seminary theological education, impacting individual seminaries as well as the ministries in which graduates serve. This AAAS lecture is one of many science-focused, campus-wide activities to complement these courses. Resources from the project will be made available to interested seminaries as the project unfolds, some of which will be archived online at

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science ( as well as Science Translational Medicine ( and Science Signaling ( AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS ( is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Columbia Theological Seminary is “Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit


AAAS Contacts:
Christine Scheller

Earl Lane

Columbia Contacts:
William Brown
William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament

Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *