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Moral Injury and Recovery in Religion, Society, and Culture Unit

Call for Proposals

For the 2020 AAR Annual Meeting, we invite papers or complete panels on:

Moral Injury and Sexual Trauma
Sexual trauma can generate moral injury, especially when the victims have been betrayed by a person in a position of authority, such as in the military, in religious communities, in educational institutions, and medical care. How did scholars so far engage the Moral Injury of sexual trauma? How can people be supported in understanding and engaging this kind of Moral Injury in culturally sensitive and intersectional ways? How do different communities engage the Moral Injury of sexual trauma? How can racism aggravate the experience of sexual trauma?

Moral Injury as Societal, Systemic, Communal Issue
Moral Injury is not a merely individual problem but has systemic and communal dimensions that remain understudied. What scholarship can better equip us in addressing the often overshadowed societal dimensions of Moral Injury? Does Moral Injury entail an inherently political critique, as claimed by Joseph Wiinikka- Lydon?

Co-sponsored with the Innovations in Chaplaincy Studies and Spiritual Care Unit:
How does the literature on moral injury and moral distress offer important and different contribution to the work of spiritual care? How are chaplains, as care professionals, subject to moral injury and moral distress in the midst of their professional responsibilities and institutional contexts?

Co-sponsored with the Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence unit and the Religion and Disability Studies unit:
We invite proposals at the intersection of psychology, religion, trauma, and disability on the threats, experiences, and care for those experiencing trauma effected by violence and/or moral injury, particularly persons with disabilities, veterans, survivors of diverse violences, and other vulnerable populations.

Statement of Purpose

The Moral Injury and Recovery in Religion, Society, and Culture Unit engages interdisciplinary study on moral injury, an emerging concept which attempts to engage the impact of making difficult moral choices under extreme conditions, experiencing morally anguishing events or duties, witnessing immoral acts, or behaving in ways that profoundly challenge moral conscience and identity and the values that support them.

In examining how understandings of recovery from moral injury might illuminate post-conflict situations in many areas of the world, this unit will interrogate how educating a wider public about moral injury might challenge the role of religion in supporting war and the militarization of international and intra-national conflicts, the effects of war on combatants in post-conflict societies, and more effective means for social support in recovery from moral injury.

Contributions are welcome engaging:

• Diverse religious, cultural, and social systems and their sacred texts
• Neuroscientific approaches to ritual, moral formation, and the moral emotions
• Proposed methods for recovery, such as ritual, pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, arts, community life, narrative, and interreligious cooperation
• The roles of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, race, and other forms of oppression in relation to personal agency and theories of ethics.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members