Volume 32
Issue 3
Fall 2009



PCR Program:
2009 AAR Meeting in Montréal

PCR Pre-Sessions:

M6-208 Friday, November 6, 2009
2:00- 6:30 pm
Palais des Congres-514A

2:00-4:00 pm Panel:
Schisms: Exploring the Psycho-Social Dynamics of Intra-Religious Conflicts in Three Communities

A. Gregory Schneider, John McDargh, David Bell, Eileen Campbell-Reed, Jay Emerson Johnson

4:00-4:15 pm Coffee Break

4:15-5:30 pm Book Panel:
Vampires, Desire, Girls, and God:
Twilight and the Spiritualities of Adolescent Girls

Lisa Cataldo, Joyce Mercer, Kelly Bulkeley, Donna Freitas

5:45-6:30 pm
Praxis Reflection: Psychological and Religious Reflections
on the Twilight Book Series and Film

7:00- 9:30 p.m.
PCR Friday Dinner


Saturday, November 7, 2009
9:00- 11:30 am
Fairmont Queen Elizabeth-Bersimis

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Works in Progress

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
PCR business meeting/elections


Regular Sessions:

Saturday November 7, 2009
1:00 -3:30 pm Palais des Congres-524A

A7-221: 100 Years of Psychoanalysis in North America

Monday November 9, 2009
1:00 pm-3:30 pm Palais des Congres-510C

A9-222: French Psychoanalytic Reflections on Religion and Culture



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Peter Homans 1930-2009

University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Peter Homans died Saturday, May 30 at a nursing home in Evanston. Homans, 78, had been suffering from the effects of a recent stroke.

Homans, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Religious Studies in the Divinity School, is best known for his groundbreaking work on the relationship between religion and psychology in the process of mourning. Homans concentrated his teaching and writing on the histories, theories, and practices of mental and spiritual healing, especially on their roots in religious traditions.

Homans was the author of three books: Theology After Freud, Jung in Context and most notably, The Ability to Mourn: Disillusionment and the Social Origins of Psychoanalysis. All of his works reflect a lifelong interest in the important place of cultural and religious symbols in the psychological life of the individual and the sociological life of a society. Homans was "especially concerned about loss and mourning as sources of individual and cultural transformation," said his daughter, Jennifer A. Homans.

Homans also studied the symbolic and psychological aspects of contemporary cultures, and he spoke and wrote extensively on the ways that breakdowns in social certainties and regularities in society call forth a need for "meaning making" in order to restore cohesion. His last book is an edited collection, Symbolic Loss: the Ambiguity of Mourning and Memory at Century's End."

Homans was born in New York City and received his undergraduate education in the humanities at Princeton University before earning a Bachelor of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1964.

Homans taught social science and the history of religion at the University of Chicago from 1965 until his retirement in 2001. Rick Rosengarten, Dean of the Divinity School, said of Homan, "For over three decades, Peter Homans was a distinguished teacher and advisor to students at the Divinity School and in the University, and a leading thinker about psychology as a—if not the—decisive cultural expression of the 20th century."

He also remembered Homans as a scholar who thought not only deeply, but broadly. "Whether in conversation or print, Peter was invariably meticulous and considered, yet he did so in a way that asked very large questions," Rosengarten said.

A deeply caring and considerate teacher, Homans engaged generations of students with his cross-disciplinary approach. His research ranged from psychology to religion and from the humanities to social science and medicine. Homans' daughter described her father as always "quietly encouraging and sympathetic to individuals and research approaches that departed from the ordinary."

He is survived by his wife, Celia; three daughters, Jennifer, Patricia and Elizabeth; as well as six grandchildren.

[from the University of Chicago website.]


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James Dittes 1926-2009

James E Dittes, the Roger J. Squire Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Yale Divinity School and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Yale University, died on Monday, August 24, 2009, at the Whitney Center Health Center in Hamden, Connecticut. His life was shortened by the increasingly debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease, originally diagnosed in 1994.

He was born on December 26, 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio, the only child of Mercein and Mary Dittes. His father, who was of German descent, dropped out of high school to become a carpenter and was a junior high school teacher in industrial arts when Jim was growing up. His mother, born Mary Freeman, was of English descent. She was a soloist in the choir of a Baptist Church in Cleveland, and although he was baptized as a Presbyterian, this was the church Jim attended as he was growing up.

He began undergraduate studies at Oberlin College in 1944 and received his B.A. in 1949, his undergraduate career having been interrupted after his freshman year by his enlistment in the United States Navy. He was a radio technician on a tugboat in the South Pacific from January 1945 through August 1946. His undergraduate major was in French and American literature, but he took a course in his senior year in psychology on human motivation. This course stimulated his interest in psychology.

From Oberlin he went directly to Yale Divinity School in 1949. After a year's study, he took a position teaching science to middle school boys in a missionary school in Talas, a remote village in central Turkey. During his two years of teaching in Turkey, he read all the psychology books he could get his hands on from a library in Ankara established by the U. S. State Department. Toward the end of his two year service in Turkey he applied for admission in graduate studies in psychology at Yale University and began Ph.D. studies in the fall of 1952. He continued to take courses in the Divinity School, dividing his course work in the two programs more or less equally over the next two years. He received his B.D. in 1955 and completed his Ph.D. in 1958. Following the retirement of Hugh Hartshorne, who taught psychology of religion at the Divinity School, he was invited to teach courses at the Divinity School while completing his doctoral studies. When he completed his doctorate, he was appointed Assistant Instructor of Psychology of Religion and thus began a teaching career at Yale that spanned 47 years (1955-2002). When he became a full professor with tenure, he was also appointed to the Department of Psychology and the Department of Religious Studies. He was Director of Graduate Studies in the latter from 1969 to 1975, and intermittently from 1985-2001, and Chair of the Department from 1975 to 1982.

Read the full eulogy by Dr. Donald Capps.

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Thanks to Our Members

Those who have paid dues for the `08-`09 year include: Bill Barnard, Matthias Beier, Kathleen Bishop, Lucy Bregman, Kelly Bulkeley, Eileen Campbell-Reid, Pamela Cooper-White, Carrie Doehring, Nancy Grace, Kathleen Greider, James Higginbotham, Andrea Hollingsworth, JoEllen Hosler, Mary Huie-Jolly, James Jones, Kathryn Ann Jones, Felicity Kelcourse, Joseph Kramp, Bonnie Miller-McLemore, David Morris, Hester Oberman, Nicole Phillips, Chris Ross, Greg Schneider, Elizabeth Smith, Phillis Sheppard, Storm Swain, Kate Wiebe, and Hetty Zock.

Membership dues in PCR support resources for audio-visual equipment at the Annual Meeting. These costs, imposed by the host city hotels, have been increasing steadily over the past several years. Feel the warm glow of knowing that you're helping to enhance PCR sessions, subsidize grad students' attendance at the PCR dinner and to distribute PCR-related information to scholars, clinicians, and clergy members interested in our work.

$25.00 Regular Membership; $15.00 Student Membership (with copy of student ID). Checks should be payable to Person, Culture, & Religion Group. Send to: Kelly Bulkeley, Secretary/Treasurer, 226 Amherst Avenue, Kensington CA 94708; Phone: 510-528-0226; Fax is same; E-mail: kellybulkeley@earthlink.net

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Psychology, Culture & Religion News Volume 32, Issue 3

Editor: Kelly Bulkeley; Layout: D. Andrew Kille

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