Fr. Dn. Paul Siewers, Ph.D.
Writing, Research, Teaching, and Faith
My writing, research, and teaching interests include Christian literature; Christian ecopoetics and apologetic theology; the writings of John Scottus Eriugena and S.L. Frank; the history of nature and the cosmic symbolism of marriage in Christian poetics and philosophy; ecopoetics and ecosemiotics; American cultural rhetoric and journalism; premodern literature and the history of the novel; modern literary resistance to totalitarianism. I direct the Bucknell Program for American Leadership and Citizenship. In 2018-2019 I was William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. I am recipient of the American Freedom Prize of the Open Discourse Coalition. I also serve on the President’s Sustainability Council at Bucknell University, where I am Associate Professor of Literary Studies.
I am an ordained Deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, holding a diploma in pastoral theology, attached to a local mission Church that serves the Bucknell University Orthodox Christian community, for which I am adviser.
My award-winning journalistic work has included serving as Urban Affairs Writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and as a National Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.
Education and Academic Positions
William E. Simon Research Fellow in Religion and Public Life, James Madison Program, Princeton University, 2018-2019.
Director, Bucknell Program for American Leadership and Citizenship, 2017 to the present.
Diploma in Pastoral Theology, St. John of Kronstadt Pastoral School, Archdiocese of the Midwest, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, 2018.
English Department Chair and Director of Literary Studies, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA, 2015-2018.
Steering Committee Member, Environmental Studies Department, Bucknell University, 2014- 2019.
Co-Editor, Stories of the Susquehanna Valley book series and digital projects, 2010-2021.
Associate Professor of Literary Studies, Bucknell University, 2009 to the present.
Founder and First Coordinator, Environmental Humanities Initiative (now the Place Studies Program), Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment, 2008-2010.
Visiting Researcher, Early Irish Department, University College Cork, 2007.
Adviser, Bucknell Orthodox Christian Fellowship, 2003 to the present.
Ph.D., English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
M.A., English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1996.
M.A., Early British Studies, University of Wales at Aberystwyth, 1993.
M.S.J., Journalism, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, 1982.
B.A., History, Brown University, 1981.
American Freedom Prize, Open Discourse Coalition, 2021
William E. Simon Research Fellowship in Religion and Public Life, James Madison Program, Princeton University, 2018-2019.
Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence, Bucknell University, 2008.
Peter Lisagor Awards for Outstanding Analysis and Reporting, 1988-1990.
Associated Press Awards for Journalism, 1988-90.
“Nature” in The Chaucer Encyclopedia. Ed. Richard Neuhauser, Vincent Gillespie, Jessica Rosenfeld, and Katie Walker. London: Wiley-Blackwell. 2023.
“Orthodox Marriage on Middle-earth.” In Amid Weeping there is Joy: Orthodox Perspectives on Tolkien’s Fantastic Realm. Ed. Cyril Gary Jenkins. Invited contribution to edited book collection. Emmaus, PA: St. Basil Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, Basilian Media and Publishing. 2021.
“’Well, I’m back,’ he said. Tolkien, Loneliness, and The Decline of the West.” In Amid Weeping there is Joy: Orthodox Perspectives on Tolkien’s Fantastic Realm. Ed. Cyril Gary Jenkins. Invited contribution to edited book collection. Emmaus, PA: St. Basil Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, Basilian Media and Publishing. 2021.
“Transhuman Totalitarianism versus Christian Theosis: From Russian Orthodoxy with Love.” Journal of Christian Bioethics 26 (2020): 325-344.
Co-Editor, Healing Humanity: Confronting Our Moral Crisis. Holy Trinity Publications, 2020. Author of “ICXC NIKA: The Liberty of Theosis” in the collection, pp. 92-112.
“Eriugena’s Irish Backgrounds.” Invited contribution to the Brill Companion to Eriugena, ed, Stephen Lahey and Adrian Guiu. Brill, 2019.
Co-Editor, The Totalitarian Legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution. Lexington Books, 2019.
Co-Producer, “Stories of the Susquehanna Valley” student documentary series: Stories of the Susquehanna: Utopian Dreams aired on public TV station WVIA in spring 2016. The Coopers and Conservation at the Susquehanna Headwaters in November 2018. Churches of Coal Country, in production.
“A Geography of the Imagination: James Fenimore and Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Regional Legacy.” In The James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal 28 (2017): 39-44.
Co-Editor, Glory and Honor: Orthodox Christian Resources on Marriage.
St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2016. Author in the collection of “Mystagogical, Cosmological, and Counter-Cultural: Contemporary Orthodox Apologetics for Marriage,” pp. 353-94.
Editor, Re-Imagining Nature: Environmental Humanities and Ecosemiotics. Bucknell Press, 2014.
“The Periphyseon, the Irish ‘Otherworld,’ and Early Medieval Nature.” In Eriugena and Creation, ed. W. Otten and M. Allen. Brepols, 2014.
“The Green Otherworlds of Early Medieval Literature.” In The Cambridge Companion to Environmental Literature, ed. Louise Westling. Cambridge, 2013.
“Orthodoxy and Ecopoetics: The Green World in the Desert Sea.” In Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation, ed. John Chryssavgis and Bruce V. Foltz. Fordham University Press, 2013.
“Cooper, Coleridge, and Re-Imagining a Native Cosmology,” in James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art, no. 18. Ed. Steven Harthorn and Hugh MacDougall. SUNY Oneonta, 2013. 114-120.
“The Early Irish Sublime as Reflection of Sophia,” in Beauty and the Beautiful in Eastern Christian Culture, ed. Natalia Ermolaev, Theotokos Press 2012. 212-224.
“Desert Islands: Europe’s Atlantic Archipelago as Ascetic Landscape.” In Studies in the Medieval Atlantic, ed. Benjamin Hudson. Palgrave Macmillan’s New Middle Ages series, 2012. 35-64.
“Ecopoetics and the Origins of English Literature.” In Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Stephanie LeMenager, Teresa Shewry and Ken Hiltner. Routledge, 2011. 105-130.
“Pre-Modern Ecosemiotics: The Green World As Literary Ecology.” In The Space of Culture-The Place of Nature in Estonia and Beyond, ed. Tiina Peil. University of Tartu Press, 2011.
Strange Beauty: Ecocritical Approaches to Early Medieval Landscape (Palgrave, 2009)
“Cooper’s Green World: Adapting Ecosemiotics to the Mythic Eastern Woodlands.” In James Fenimore Cooper, His Country and His Art, ed. Hugh MacDougall (Oneonta and Cooperstown, NY: SUNY Oneonta and Cooper Society, 2009).
“Environmentalist Readings of Tolkien.” In The Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, ed. Michael D.C. Drout. New York and London: Routledge, 2006. 166-67.
“Landscapes of Conversion: Guthlac’s Mound and Grendel’s Mere as Expressions of Anglo-Saxon Nation-building.” Viator 34 (2003): 1-39. Revised and reprinted in The Postmodern Beowulf: A Critical Casebook, ed. Eileen A. Joy, Mary K. Ramsey, and Bruce D. Gilchrist. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 2006.
Co-Editor, Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages (Palgrave, 2005)
Selected Recent Presentations
“The Compleat Angler on Penns Creek,” given at the Keystone Coldwater Conference. State College, PA, Feb. 26, 2022.
“Converts to Orthodox Christianity in America in the Russian Church Today.” Links between Times: Conclusions and Perspectives on the Centennial of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Conference. Belgrade, Serbia. Nov. 25, 2021.
“Ecosemiotics in Early Irish Lyrics.” Scél lem dúib: Gerard Murphy’s Early Irish Lyrics Revisited: A Symposium to Celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the Publication of the Anthology. (Also commemorating the 1500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Columcille). University College Cork, Department of Early and Medieval Irish. Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.
“Dostoevsky’s ‘Back to the Soil'(Pochvennichestvo) : Its Christian Significance.” Nature Philosophy and Religion Society, Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy annual conference. Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.
Selected Public Writing
“How Faculty Put a Stake in the Heart of Free Speech at Bucknell,” Princetonians for Free Speech, March 3, 2022.
“How Alumni Established a Beachhead for Open Discourse on Bucknell’s Campus,” The Federalist, July 6, 2021
“Academic Settler Culture,” First Things, June 16, 2021
“How The Man in the High Castle Actually Reveals America’s Totalitarian Trends,” The Federalist, Dec. 5, 2019
“What Christians Face in a Neo-Marxist World,” The American Conservative, April 28, 2019
“The Orwellian Dangers of the ‘Equality Act.’” Public Discourse, April 24, 2019
“How Christian Science Became a Dying Religion.” The Federalist, April 11, 2019
“Why does the Left Suspend their Principles for Christian Minorities?” The Federalist, Jan. 22, 2019
“The Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy is not just Financial. It’s Moral.” The Federalist, Jan. 2, 2019
“Remembering the Jonestown Massacre.” Public Discourse, Nov. 18, 2018
“Communists Brutally Murdered Russia’s Last Royal Family 100 Years Ago Today.” The Federalist, July 17, 2018
“What I Learned about American Culture by Binging on Gunsmoke and House of Cards.” The Federalist, June 22, 2017
“Political Diversity Among the Faculty.” The Counterweight, April 23, 2015
“Metropolitan Harmony.” Illinois Issues, April 2000
Deacon, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, 2020 to the present.
Subdeacon, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, 2019 to the present.
President of the Media Council, Holy Orthodox Order of St. George the Great-Martyr, 2019 to the present.
Reader, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, 2017 to the present.
Warden, St. John of Shanghai Russian Orthodox Mission Church, 2015-2020.
Founding Co-Convener, Bucknell Faculty Staff Christian Association, 2014 to the present.
Urban Affairs Writer, Chicago Sun-Times, 1989-1992. Received three Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism (two for individual work, one as part of team coverage) while a staff writer at the Sun-Times, among other journalism awards.
National Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor, 1988.