Anthropology, Psychology, and Religion 2024 Call for Papers


The Anthropology, Psychology, and Religion section of the 2024 Call for Papers invites proposals on a variety of topics related to the intersection of these fields. This year, the section is pleased to host a book symposium on “Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression” by Jessica Coblentz. Additionally, papers are sought that address themes such as trauma, institutionalized oppression, religious rituals, self-identity, religious leaders, spiritual and psychological well-being, evolutionary anthropology, human-animal relations, PTSD and moral injury, mental health of “Generation Z,” and more. Proposals should be submitted by December 15, 2023, and should adhere to the guidelines provided.

Book Symposium: Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression

The section is hosting a book symposium on Jessica Coblentz’s work, “Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression.” This book has received numerous awards and recognition for its originality and timeliness. Proposals are invited that thoughtfully engage with the book, addressing topics such as methodology, biblical figures, and wider implications. Proposals may also explore connections between Coblentz’s work and other authors and interpretive frameworks. Successful proposals will receive copies of the book, and the author will be present to respond to the papers.

Additional Topics and Questions

In addition to the book symposium, the section invites papers that address various topics and questions related to anthropology, psychology, and religion. These topics include:

1. Trauma and Healing

  • Exploration of how trauma is felt, inscribed, and remembered in the flesh
  • Examination of the intersections between social and theological concepts and meanings related to trauma
  • Consideration of the ethical and theological implications of sacralizing wounds or traumatic experiences

2. Institutionalized Oppression and Traumatization

  • Analysis of the social-historical effects of institutionalized oppression and traumatization
  • Evaluation of how social identities preserve memories of past victimization and how this memory is transmitted, evaluated, and transformed
  • Exploration of religious practices that promote flourishing and healing from historical trauma and their potential impact on the civic populace
  • Discussion of whether the church should promote civic rituals of purification, confession, exorcism, and what this might look like

3. Religious Rituals and Objects

  • Examination of how religious rituals and objects are socially produced and used to promote human flourishing or its negative effects
  • Consideration of a wide array of ritual objects in cross-cultural contexts, not limited to sacraments and sacramentals

4. Notions of Self and Identity

  • Exploration of how self and identity are manufactured, explored, and transcended in religious traditions
  • Investigation of the role of self-denial or self-transcendence in creative living
  • Examination of various relationships, such as self-nature, self-other, I-Thou, and their permanence or relativity
  • Consideration of non-dualist frames that may better orient human thought and action

5. Theological Anthropology of Religious Leaders

  • Analysis of religious leaders who serve as exemplars or mediators on behalf of a community
  • Examination of how these figures are understood, sacralized, and interacted with
  • Consideration of the role of religious leaders in setting norms and standards for ideal “humaning”
  • Investigation into how the bodies of religious leaders figure into their embodiment of community ideals and teachings

6. Tension Between Caring for the Wounded and Actively Wounding

  • Discussion of the tension that exists in spiritual and religious affiliations between caring for the wounded while also actively participating in actions that may cause harm
  • Evaluation of metaphors of sacrifice and victimhood in ritual and mysticism

7. Influence of Toxic Environments on Spiritual and Psychological Well-being

  • Exploration of the influence of natural, social, and personal toxic environments on spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Consideration of how environments that promote integral liberation can be grown in our communities
  • Examination of the relationship between nature, the human world, and social identity
  • Imagining of alternative possibilities for “environmental action”

8. Interconnectedness with Other Life Forms

  • Insights from evolutionary anthropology on human interconnectedness with other life forms and their development
  • Exploration of how humans feel, experience, and remember these interconnections in their being
  • Consideration of theological and religious themes and practices given an understanding of human developmental history
  • Examination of the relationship between vulnerability, flourishing, and inter-species dependency

9. Human-Animal Relations and Vulnerability

  • Discussion of recent interdisciplinary scholarship on human-animal relations and the category of “animality” as it relates to vulnerability and dependency
  • Examination of the framing of vulnerability within this field of study and its contribution to our understanding of vulnerability and flourishing
  • Evaluation of disagreements within the field and the impact of ecological destruction on human and non-human animal vulnerability

10. PTSD and Moral Injury

  • Exploration of the difference and relationship between PTSD and moral injury, particularly in war veterans
  • Consideration of the role of conscience and soul in the gravity of wounds caused by actions that violate one’s conscience
  • Investigation into how theologians and religionists can learn from and engage with this emerging awareness

11. Mental Health of “Generation Z”

  • Analysis of recent data on the mental health of “Generation Z” and their disposition toward anxious and depressive pathologies
  • Evaluation of differing perspectives on the resilience or perceived coddling of this generation
  • Consideration of the role of Catholic, Christian, and other religious educators in understanding and addressing this phenomenon

Proposal Submission Guidelines

Proposals should be submitted to the conveners by December 15, 2023. They should not exceed 500 words and should include the presenter’s institutional affiliation, position, and contact information. Additionally, any requests for AV support should be included. Presenters should be members of the CTS at the time of the meeting in the summer of 2024.

In conclusion, the Anthropology, Psychology, and Religion section of the 2024 Call for Papers invites proposals on a range of topics related to Catholic anthropology. From the book symposium on “Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression” to various themes such as trauma, institutionalized oppression, religious rituals, self-identity, and more, there are ample opportunities for scholars to engage with these important issues. Submit your proposals by December 15, 2023, and contribute to the ongoing conversation at the intersection of anthropology, psychology, and religion.