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Psychology, Culture, and Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

1) Punishment or treatment? How substance abuse, addiction and treatment is shaped by religious, political and racialized narratives
The response of care to black and brown bodies addicted to crack (starting in the 1980s) was the proliferation of the prison industrial complex. The response of care to white bodies addicted to opioids (starting in the late 1990s) includes government initiatives on pain management, treatment and recovery, multi-million dollar settlements with drug manufacturers and distributors, and the consideration of additional multi-billion dollar settlements in the future. This session calls for papers that critically examine the social, religious, cultural, and political narratives that govern the disparates of care to various communities and bodies.

2) Religious and political systems of dehumanization: Long-term psychological consequences of systemic injustice
What are the long-term psychological consequences of systemic injustice? This session solicits papers that examine connections between long-term consequences of communal trauma that correlate with systemic injustices like mass incarceration, separation of migrant families, the Flint water crisis, police militarization, communal trauma, and other forms of structural oppression. Interested scholars should locate their work with a socio-historic framework that pays special attention to the psychological implications of systemic injustice as a causal factor in communal trauma and which can be analyzed from psychological, cultural and religious perspectives.

3) Preparing chaplains for interreligious engagement: Navigating psychological and religious boundaries, texts, values and practices
The world is growing in religious complexity in nearly every sector and the hegemony of Christian practice in the profession of chaplaincy is continuing to erode. No longer can chaplains assume a uniform approach to religion among hospice and hospital patients, military personnel, incarcerated persons, or any groups or persons in their care. Religious multiplicity and spiritual fluidity are increasingly the norm for individuals and even in what may appear to be homogenous communities. Whether chaplains bring personal confessional commitments to a particular world religion, multiple religious belonging, or no particular religious commitments, they must be ready to engage across the religious variety of commitments, boundaries, texts and practices in their work. To be prepared for religious and spiritual care in this new world means chaplains need new skills and competencies as well as fluency with varieties of psychological approaches and religious experiences. This session seeks multiple perspectives on how such skills and practices are learned and embodied.

4) Two Decades in the Spotlight: psychological, cultural, and religious impact of public awareness of clergy sexual abuse
Nearly 20 years after the Boston Globe spotlight exposé of clergy sexual abuse in the Boston diocese, similar scandals have rocked churches and organizations worldwide. This call seeks papers that address the psychological, religious, and cultural impact of wide public awareness of sexual abuse and its coverup.

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

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

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.