Psychology and Religion with or without God
In recent years the study of psychology, culture, and religion has taken on a more confessional tone, often encompassing a pastoral theological approach. In what ways does—or should—the psychological study of religion assume God? If so, whose God does it assume? What theoretical, material, or clinical difference does make? Alongside this framework exists a cultural landscape increasingly shaped by hierarchical classifications of religion, spirituality, and faith. Given these realities, how might the psychology of religion resist the growing force of Christian supremacy in U.S. cultural contexts?
Trans Day of Remembrance and Beyond (Potential Co-Sponsor with Queer Studies Unit)
This year's conference follows the Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20, 2024, a day dedicated to honoring the lives of transgender individuals lost to violence. For a potential co-sponsored session with the Queer Studies unit, we invite proposals that build on the TDOR theme, exploring the intersection of psychology, trans and queer studies, and religion for trans and gender nonconforming persons. Possible topics include but are not limited to exploring queer and trans critiques of normative development in the context of psychology and religion; exploring psychological, theoretical, and spiritual insights related to the Trans Day of Remembrance and its impact on communities; interrogating and reimagining normative models of psychospiritual development for trans and gender nonconforming persons and communities; and exploring resources at the intersections of trans lives, queer and trans studies in religion, and psychology and religion for flourishing in the midst of violence. Proposals may draw on a variety of disciplines and methodologies to deepen our understanding of the psychological dimensions of the TDOR and trans experiences more broadly.
The Mainstreaming and Marginalization of Healing Modalities: Appropriation and Cultural Violence in the Realm of Healing (Potential co-spsonsorship with Religions, Medicines, and Healing Unit)
Healing modalities that are embedded in indigenous religious traditions, and that have historically been designated as "primitive" or otherwise inferior, have been repackaged for mainstream consumption when their efficacy (and profitability) is clear. Practices like using hallucinogens or THC are now accepted as effective tools in physical and/or psychological healing. But they are generally only seen as legitimate if they are produced by pharmaceutical companies and their use is "supervised by a physician" or a regulatory body. The communities who have known about and used these practices, often for religious purposes, not only get no profit, they move further into the underclass because their practices are "illegal." At the same time, the use of these practices in medical contexts has brought important relief and healing. We welcome proposals that address the issues and conflicts surrounding secularizing and mainstreaming culturally-embedded and religious healing practices.
Human Religious Subjectivity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
The rapid advancement of AI technologies in education, commerce, science, and beyond has already impacted daily life in ways that are not fully assessable. Efforts to regulate AI reflect its potential for both positive and exploitive contributions. What does the increasing presence of AI mean for the understanding of human subjectivity, agency, and self-esteem in relation to religious or spiritual beliefs and practices? How might AI shape, question, or reinforce cultural norms around race, gender, class, religious identity, or other psychological and spiritual realities? AI raises issues of what it means to be an agentic, knowing subject, or a religious subject in relation to a technological other. Proposals may address these questions or related ones from religious and psychological perspectives.
Submissions on other topics that address the intersection of psychology, culture, and religion are welcome.