portrait of Sue Russell

Sue Russell

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Chair, Dept. of Anthropology

  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ph.D., La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
  • D.Miss., Biola University
  • Th.M., Talbot School of Theology
  • M.Div., Talbot School of Theology
  • M.A., Biola University
  • B.S., Humboldt State University

CV Document (PDF)

Dr. Russell spent 17 years in cross-cultural ministry and field research with Wycliffe Bible Translators in S.E. Asia, where she worked with a committee of national pastors to complete the translation of the whole Bible into their language.  Dr. Russell has three earned doctorates: missiology, linguistic anthropology, and the history of early Christianity. She uses her expertise in these three areas to bring an interdisciplinary approach to both anthropological and Biblical studies. She brings anthropological concepts alive through their application to New Testament backgrounds and to current human problems. She enjoys training students with the methods from anthropology to better understand people and the cultures in which they are embedded in order to more effectively contextualize their message and ministry.  She also applies anthropological methods and theories to the New Testament text in order to better understand the cultural dynamics of the first century readers.  Her areas of interest are gender, social justice, conversion, endangered languages, and ethnolinguistic vitality.  She seeks to explore these areas in her study of the New Testament world as well.  She is passionate about challenging and helping students to live out their faith in the world.

She is the author of Conversion, Power, and Identity. Her recent dissertation is In the World but Not of the World: The Liminal Life of Pre-Constantine Christian Communities.



  • American Association of Anthropology
  • American Society of Missiology
  • Evangelical Mission Society
  • Evangelical Theological Society
  • Society of Biblical Literature


Books and Articles

  • “Languages, Disappearing.” Encyclopedia of Minority Languages (In Press)

  • “Kadazandusun.” Encyclopedia of Minority Languages (In Press)

  • “The Murut.” Encyclopedia of Malaysia (In Press)

  • Book Review. Malay Muslims: the History and Challenge of Resurgent Islam in Southeast Asia. EMQ 39(2):254-256.

  • “Caring for Indigenous Harvesters.” In Caring for the Harvest Force in the New Millennium. Tom A. Steffen and F. Douglas P.Pennoyer, ed. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2002

  • “Toward Predicting Ethnolinguistic Vitality: A socioculturalapproach.” In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Maintenance and Loss of Minority Languages. Waxmann Publishing Co, Mumunster. 2001

  • “Towards Predicting and Planning for Ethnolinguistic Vitality: An Application of Grid/ Group.” In Assessing Ethnolinguistic Vitality. Gloria E. Kindell & M. Paul Lewis ed. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics. 2000

  • “Conversion, Power, and Identity.” Maryknoll: University Press of America. 1999

  • “A Comparison of Leadership in Four Communities: Implications for Community Involvement in Economic and Language Development Programs.” Notes on Sociolinguistics. 1999

  • “The Rundum Rebellion: The Legend.” Sabah Society Journal 14:11-19. 1977

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