By Heidi Fraser Hageman January 4, 2017

East-West Psychology has two doctoral candidates who will present their work at the prestigious American Academy of Religion March 17-19 2017.

Claire Polansky's research primarily explores the psychospiritual crisis of the Jewish diaspora, which led to Zionism, and the eco-psychology behind it with parallels to the current Palestinian struggle for autonomy. This is undertaken through an investigation of Friedrich Nietzsche's psychospiritual crisis and the stages of his revaluation of values that lead to his mystical ecophenomenology, with the intention of finding the language to contribute to interfaith dialogue and peace negotiations in the Middle East. Nietzsche's (1954a) statement about Jews "denaturing [their] natural values" (p. 594) serves as a preliminary guide while reflecting on his call for a revaluation of values and principles in eco-psychology. Furthermore, consideration will be given to the ecosophy of Nietzsche's Übermensch (German: highest man) with an investigation into Messianism, self-actualization, and plausible interpretations for the collective consciousness within the Middle East. Finally, future implications of Nietzsche's work are offered in order to illuminate the practical application of Nietzsche's existential ecophenomenology and his contribution to transpersonal psychology with specific suggestions for the revaluation of Middle Eastern values which "transcend and include" the old and the new ideas of faith and culture within the land.

Monica Mody's research explores the implications of borderlands theory put forth by Gloria Anzaldúa, which reveals a liminal zone in between and bridging oppositional binaries, be they the past and the present, the old and the new, the imaginal and the real, myth and history. Through this lens, she offers a critical and creative approach to reimagining and rediscovering the feminine-centric culture of South Asia, which has long been sidelined and suppressed by colonialism, nationalism, and patriarchy. Monica will also present her work at The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) next year as well!

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