Religious Persecution & Vicarious Trauma: Educational Initiatives among Religious Diaspora Communities

How can the core values of a religious tradition be drawn on pedagogically in ways that help educate towards peace even as the community faces the reality of violence?

Our research focuses particularly on the violent persecution of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and responses to that violence by Eastern Orthodox communities in North America. However, the core questions can be asked in diverse contexts including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, among others.

Our two areas of focus include:

  • Examining how religious educators pedagogically use narratives embedded in a tradition’s corpus to shape communal responses to violence.
  • Exploring the role of vicarious trauma and how it may influence practices and outcomes in religious communities that are geographically removed from the violence, but identify with their fellow adherents being persecuted.

Research process involves:

  • Interviewing and surveying members of Eastern Orthodox communities in North America, in particular clergy and lay leaders;
  • Statements from official church bodies;
  • Media based documentation that captures communal responses, including Internet articles, YouTube videos, social network sites and the like;
  • Scholarship on contested narratives, peace education, and trauma among diverse persecuted populations.

Contact People:

  • Dr. Sarah Tauber, Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (NY)
  • Jennifer Haddad Mosher, Doctoral Student in Religion & Education at Union Theological Seminary (NY)
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