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Psychology, Culture, and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

  1. Witnessing Public Rage and Violence: Social, Psychological, and Religious Responses
    During the pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, spaces for gathering and community have diminished while expressions of rage and violence have become more rampant, including significant increases in mass shootings, gun violence, racial violence, and cyber violence. Our meeting in Colorado calls to mind the Boulder King Soopers Shooting in March 2021, and the record number of hate crimes in the state during that year, reflections of a national trend. This call seeks papers that address social, psychological, and religious responses to public violence.

  2. Countering Catastrophe? Joy, Hope, and Resilience in Context
    In the face of multiple, ongoing, experiences of suffering - individual, communal, global - hope and joy can come in many forms, not all of which may fit conventional or culturally-dominant models of “happiness” or “resilience.” Hope, joy, and resilience are, in part, socially constructed and can be influenced by place, culture, class, and ethnicity. Imposing a singular understanding of these concepts on any person, care seeker, or group can reflect a form of colonial dominance, especially in times of suffering and vulnerability. What are the parameters of joy, hope, or resilience that are meaningful in the real lives of people in widely disparate cultural, social, economic, familial contexts? This call seeks papers that address these questions from psychological and religious perspectives.

  3. Climate Catastrophe, Eco-Anxiety and Climate Grief: Psychological and Religious Perspectives.
    The terms “climate grief” and “eco-anxiety” have been used to describe various reactions to the impact of climate change, including human loss from climate disasters, loss of species and landscapes, and uncertainty or hopelessness about the future of the planet and humanity’s future on earth. This session will focus on work that addresses these phenomena from the intersection of psychology, culture, and religion.

  4. The State of the World and Childhood Identity: The Impact of Pandemic, Isolation, Racial Tension and Climate Catastrophe on Child Development and Wellness (Co-Sponsored Session with Childhood Studies and Religion Unit)
    In the two years of the Covid pandemic, the upheaval in children’s lives has been significant. Given the rise in teen suicide, social isolation, interpersonal and public violence, and palpable racial tension, how might we adequately care for children, their development/formation, and spiritual lives?

  5. “Ethical Care? Moral Advocacy and the Challenge of Working in Institutions”
    Given the growing consensus among spiritual and therapeutic caregivers that moral advocacy is central to their professional identity, how might spiritual caregivers understand the future of their work in institutional contexts like hospitals, prisons, the military, or others that demand neutrality on political matters such as racial and social justice? And how might pastoral psychotherapists and clinicians negotiate the increasing emphasis on integrating spirituality as a morally-neutral “tool” in psychotherapeutic contexts? We welcome proposals that answer these questions directly or in any way address the moral complexity of operating as professionals at the intersection of spiritual and clinical care in institutional settings.

Statement of Purpose

The PCR unit is comprised of scholars and practitioners in the fields of psychology, religious studies, and cultural analysis. The interests of our members range from Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis to the practice of pastoral counseling, from object relations theory to cultural studies of trauma and healing. Our primary purposes are to foster creative research, encourage the exchange of ideas among the membership, and provide a forum within the AAR for people with shared backgrounds in the interdisciplinary study of psychology, religion, and culture.

Here are ways to connect with the PCR unit


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs prior to final acceptance or rejection

Review Process Comments

Throughout the review process we keep all submissions blind to all reviewers and chairs. Only when the reviews are complete do the chairs begin to reveal names and institutions.