Volume 35
Issue 1
Winter 2012



Call for Papers:
2012 AAR Meeting in Chicago

The Psychology, Culture & Religion Group welcomes proposals on the following themes:

The Group also welcomes proposals on other themes dealing with psychology, culture, and religion.

Method of Proposal Submission:

The Annual Meeting will take place November 17-November 20, 2012 in Chicago, IL.

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News from PCR Members

Lisa Cataldo (Fordham University) recently received the Stephen A. Mitchell Author's Award, granted by the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, for the outstanding paper submitted by a psychoanalyst who has been out of training for five years or less.

Lucy Bregman (Temple University) has published a new book, Preaching Death: The Transformation of Christian Funeral Sermons (Baylor University Press, 2011).

D. Andrew Kille (BibleWorkbench) notes that his article "Reading the Bible in Three Dimensions: Psychological Biblical Interpretation" was translated into Hungarian and published as "Bibliaolvasás Három Dimenzióban: A Pzichológiai Bibliaértelmezés " in Sapientiana, a journal published by Sapientia College of Theology of Religious Orders in Budapest.

Phillis Sheppard (Boston University) has published a new book, Self, Culture and Others in Womanist Practical Theology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Matthias Beier (Christian Theological Seminary) reports that his original German book Gott ohne Angst [God without Fear] (Patmos, 2010) was published in Dutch translation in October 2011as Religie zonder angst en geweld by Skandalon publisher. Beier presented both books during a lecture tour to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Berlin, Germany. His chapter "The Deadly Search for God: Absolute Aggression in the Heritage of the Bible" was published in the book A Cry Instead of Justice: The Bible and Cultures of Violence in Psychological Perspective (A. Kille & D. Daschke, eds., T&T Clark, 2010). In the aftermath of the collapse of the Aug. 2011 Indiana State Fair stage that killed 7 and at the occasion of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Matthias was interviewed by ABC News, public radio, the Indianapolis Star and other media organizations on the effects of such public trauma and how to cope with them in psychologically and spiritually healthy ways.

Amy Lamborn recently became Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at the General Theological Seminary in New York. She has the opportunity to redesign the curriculum and include the various depth psychologies. She is an advanced candidate with the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association and maintain a part-time practice. She completed her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary and is currently revising her dissertation for publication.

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PCR renewed!

The Psychology, Culture & Religion Group successfully completed its five-year review and our status has been renewed for another five years. Robert Puckett, Director of Meetings, wrote:

At our recent meeting, the Program Committee considered your report on the Psychology, Culture, and Religion Group and your request for renewal. I am happy to let you know that the Group has been renewed for a five-year term (2012-2016) with 2 sessions per annual meeting, 3 if co-sponsoring a session. The Committee would like to see a clearer statement of the Group's goals for the upcoming five years. The Committee would also like the Group to continue the pursuit of the formation of a Cluster with the Religion and the Social Sciences Section and the Anthropology of Religion Group, if they are still willing. The Program Committee is willing to grant the cluster an extra slot for an exploratory session on this issue, if it so chooses.

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Other Calls for Papers

Some of the Calls for Papers from other Program Groups of the AAR and the SBL may be of interest to members of PCR. For further information, or to submit a paper, see the AAR or SBL websites.

Religion and the Social Sciences Section

This Section invites proposals on the following topics:

Practical Theology Group

This Group invites papers in three areas:

Cognitive Science of Religion Group

This Group welcomes proposals for individual papers or sessions on any aspect of the cognitive science of religion. We are particularly interested in sessions on the following themes:

The Group’s blog describes how proposals are evaluated and can be used as a forum for coordinating organized sessions or Research Forums.

SBL Psychology
and Biblical Studies Section

The Psychology and Biblical Studies section of the Society of Biblical Literature extends an invitation to PCR members to submit paper proposals for the Annual Meeting of the SBL, meeting concurrently with the AAR, November November 17-20, 2012 in Chicago.

We welcome proposals for papers that address Biblical texts, themes, figures and/or readers and interpreters using the concepts and interpretive tools of any named field of psychology.

We are particularly interested in papers which examine readers, the process of reading, appropriation of texts, and their impact on individuals and communities from a psychological perspective.

We also plan review sessions of two recent books: Kamila Blessing’s Families of the Bible (Praeger 2010), and Barbara Leung Lai’s Through the ‘I’-Window: The Inner Life of Characters in the Hebrew Bible (Sheffeild Phoenix Press, 2011).

To propose a paper for the session, see full details and online submission information on the SBL website.

See our website at www.psybibs.org or contact the Chair, D. Andrew Kille, at psybibs@psybibs.org. Paper proposals must be submitted by March 1, 2012.

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Changes in the AAR:
Moving in Our Direction

Recently the AAR, its administration and its program committee have made several decisions that impact the PCR group.  In each case the decisions support the ongoing work of the PCR group.  Indeed, the decisions might even be seen as spreading the PCR’s scholarly principles more broadly through the AAR. 

  1. Concurrent meetings with the Society of Biblical Literature, as far as the eye can see.  After several years in which the AAR convened its annual meetings separately from the SBL, the two associations are scheduled to share conference times and locations for at least the next 10 years.  Issues of how best to coordinate program schedules, publications, attendee services, etc. are still being negotiated, but the basic commitment to a shared AAR-SBL conference has been reaffirmed.  For PCR members whose work draws on the resources of both groups and who protested against the “split” several years ago, this decision is a welcome recognition of the valuable conversations that can only occur when the AAR and SBL meet together.
  2. Developing “clusters” of program units.  This initiative was devised to encourage AAR groups to form dynamic alliances with other groups who share their interests, advancing beyond one-off co-sponsorships.  The PCR group was invited last fall to join a cluster with the Religion and the Social Sciences section, the Sociology of Religion group, and the Anthropology of Religion group.  This initial effort did not bear fruit (one of the invitees declined, the logistics were unclear, the timeline was too short), but the idea remains a good opportunity for the PCR group to seek out mutually beneficial connections with other AAR groups.  Although the logistical issues still need to be resolved, the AAR is clearly trying to stimulate broader interdisciplinary conversations among religious studies scholars—exactly what the PCR excels at.  The challenge for the PCR membership is to find a viable way to make the cluster idea a reality.  Perhaps groups should not form clusters with “the usual suspects” but rather pursue an exogamous strategy of seeking kindred spirits in unlikely places.  Perhaps the clusters should concentrate on selecting invited speakers from outside the AAR, rather than trying to create mega-sessions among several program units.  Now is the time to float experimental, non-traditional ideas!
  3.  Shaking up the program schedule with shorter sessions.  Quoted below is Robert Puckett’s message from the AAR regarding this issue.  Opinions vary greatly on the rationale for this change, but the strong impetus from the AAR is to promote annual meeting sessions that are more lively, interactive, and engaging.  Again, this is moving the AAR directly into PCR territory, as the PCR group has for many decades been a leading innovator in creating sessions that break the traditional mold of presenters reading their papers from a podium to a silent audience.  Now more than ever, the PCR ethos of teaching and discussing rather than reading one’s paper is on the ascendant. 

Although I'm a member of the AAR program committee, I cannot take credit for these new developments because they were in the works long before I joined. The AAR has 130+ program units, so it's virtually impossible to find a framework for the annual meeting that pleases everyone. Yet from everything I've seen, the goal of the AAR is to make the overall conference function more like the sessions of the PCR group. I don't know if they're ready for flamenco dancing or mandala meditations, but we can help them get there!

Kelly Bulkeley
Graduate Theological Union

From Robert Puckett, December newsletter to the Program Chairs:

Session Length
The Program Committee received an enormous amount of feedback to its proposal regarding 100-minute sessions. Many of the comments expressed the value of 2.5-hour sessions; others felt that shorter sessions were better suited to our circumstances.  The Post-Annual Meeting Survey of members confirms this difference in outlook: 50.2% of respondents think that the length of the 2.5 hour sessions is about right, and 48.4% think these are too long.  As to 90-minute sessions, 68.6% of respondents think that the length of these sessions is about right, and 29.4% think they are too short.  A large majority of members (79.5%) think that the ideal length is 120 minutes or less.  The Program Committee wishes to take these data seriously, and wishes to experiment with shorter session times as a result.  At the same time, we do not want to do away with the 2.5 hour sessions that many seem to find valuable. We also want to maintain the 9:00 am-6:30 pm schedule with 30 minute breaks between sessions and 90 minutes for lunch.  Taking all of this into consideration, we think we have landed on a promising solution. 

First, the Saturday and Sunday schedules will remain as they are, with 2.5-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday morning, and 90 minute sessions on Sunday afternoon. Second, Tuesday morning will be split into two 90-minute sessions of 8:30 am-10:00 am and 10:30 am-12:00 pm, adding an additional session slot to the program, and giving more options to members who stay at the Annual Meeting through Tuesday.  Third, on Monday afternoon, we will schedule an OPTIONAL 120-minute slot that could be chosen by Units instead of a 2.5-hour session. These sessions will run concurrently with the regular 2.5-hour sessions.  If a Unit chose the 120 minute session and discussion is very lively or your business meeting runs over, etc., it would be able to remain in the room for the additional 30 minutes, as we will not schedule anything in the room during that time.  The result is a more flexible system: Units will be able to choose between 2.5 hours, 120 minutes, and 90 minute sessions when you submit your sessions in March/April. You can see the full schedule below:




Monday (alternate)


9:00 am-11:30 am

9:00 am-11:30 am

9:00 am-11:30 am

9:00 am-11:30 am

8:30 am-10:00 am

1:00 pm-3:30 pm

1:00 pm-2:30 pm

1:00 pm-3:30 pm

1:00 pm-3:00 pm

10:30 am-12:00 pm

4:00 pm-6:30 pm

3:00 pm-4:30 pm

4:00 pm-6:30 pm

4:00 pm-6:00 pm



5:00 pm-6:30 pm




As requested, we will poll the Chairs after we have experimented with this new format to take their assessment of this initiative into consideration as we continue to explore ways to improve our Annual Meeting schedule.

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Thanks to Our Members

Those who have paid dues for the `11-`12 year include: Kirk Bingaman; Kathleen Bishop; Lucy Bregman; Kelly Bulkeley; Lee Butler; Eileen Campbell-Reed; Pamela Cooper-White; Nathan Carlin; Lisa Cataldo; Margarita Guillory; James W. Jones; Felicity Kelcourse; D. Andrew Kille; Joseph Kramp; John McDargh; Isabelle Noth; Lewis Rambo; Martha Reineke; Lallene Rector; Gregory Schneider; Phillis Sheppard; Raynard Smith; Storm Swain; Hendrika Vande Kemp; Jessica Van Denend; Sonia Waters; Herman Westerink; Katherine 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 Psychology, Culture, & Religion Group. Send to: Kelly Bulkeley, Secretary/Treasurer, 226 Amherst Avenue, Kensington CA 94708; E-mail: bulkeleyk@gmail.com

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Psychology, Culture & Religion News Volume 35, Issue 1

Editor: Kelly Bulkeley; Layout: D. Andrew Kille

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