CALL FOR PAPERS: International conferences of the ESWTR “Imperial Powers and Women: Trauma, Resistance, and Resilience”

International Conference of the European Society of Women in Theological Research

Imperial Powers and Women:

Trauma, Resistance, and Resilience

August 31st – September 2nd 2023

Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine)


On the 24th of February 2022, Russia began full-scale aggression against Ukraine. Russia aimed to conquer Ukraine to return as they claimed “the lost brother” into its realm. To justify these actions, the Russian propaganda uses political rhetoric that wherever the Russian flag had been raised, it should remain in Russian territory. The religious discourse of Russkij mir (Russian peace) is promulgated and endorsed as a justification for the war. Survivors of Russian occupation, exhumations, and burnt vehicles testify to war crimes against civilians and again indicate that civilians are a major target of the Russian war. Individual and gang rape, torture, kidnapping, and stealing mark the weaponry Russians use to promote Russian peace. This war has been identified as a holy war by the Russian patriarch Kiril, and the death of Russian soldiers on the battlefield has been considered cleansing of all their sins. Despite all the atrocities, Ukrainians have shown remarkable resilience and solidarity. People did not give up hope and not only continue to fight against the aggressor on different fronts – on the battlefield, in the media, cultural events but also make plans for how to rebuild the country after the victory.

Despite all the atrocities, Ukrainians have shown remarkable resilience and solidarity. People did not give up hope and not only continued to fight against the aggressor on different fronts. Millions of people worldwide condemn the military aggression by the Russian Federation and express solidarity with Ukraine.  Today, one can buy a sign with perhaps the most popular phrase worldwide, ‘We stand with Ukraine,’ and put it in their yard. Many women’s anti-war and pro-Ukrainian activities provide critical humanitarian assistance to women refugees, enhance their recovery, and protect women and girls affected by the conflict against sexual and gender-based violence.

In the realities of the brutal military aggression and the supportive strategies employed in aid of and by the victims and survivors, issues of religion and gender play an important role. We invite scholars in theological and religious research to investigate 1) how imperial ideologies and religious discourses are intertwined; 2)  discuss the multiplicity of women’s experiences in situations of war and violence and to learn from these experiences; 3) to examine the strategies women endorse to keep their humanity alive; 4) to analyze why women become victims of violence and subjects of resistance; 5) to investigate the issue of transgenerational trauma and how it impacts the present resilience and resistance; 6) to look for insights from personal stories; 7) to challenge the notion that war and peacemaking is men’s domain; 8) to reframe our understanding of modern warfare and women’s roles in it.  Furthermore, we ask what religious and spiritual resources women refer to build their resilience and keep their humanity amid atrocities. Which hermeneutical questions are being raised in reading the Bible/Quran and/or Church tradition on suffering and religiously justified violence? What are the essential elements of a theology of suffering and healing? Which religious and spiritual practices (rituals, devotions, prayers, pilgrimages, etc.) have emerged or have been rediscovered and transformed as women’s responses to warfare? What solidarity strategies do women pursue to help Ukraine and motivate their community engagement?

These questions will be discussed in the following sections:


  • War totalitarian power, imperial ideologies, and the abuse of religion
  • Solidarity, resilience, and resistance
  • Suffering and theology amid war atrocities
  • Theology of healing and pastoral responses
  • Transgenerational trauma and methodologies of overcoming tragedy
  • Sexual violence as a weapon

Submissions can focus on a variety of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Bible, Quran, Jewish/Christian Apocrypha, and other sacred texts on Women, War, Trauma, Resilience
  • Theological and ethical responses to women’s experiences of warfare and resistance
  • Women’s survival strategies in times of conflict
  • Case studies of women who survived a conflict and contributed to healing processes 


  • Online registration for those who would like to participate without talks is July 1st, 2023
  • The application forms with all the required information should be submitted by April 28, 2023
  • The abstracts (500 words max.) should be submitted by April 28, 2023
  • Notifications of acceptance will be sent by May 30, 2023
  • To facilitate translators’ work, texts of accepted talks should be submitted by July 30, 2023

Languages of the conference: Ukrainian, English, Spanish, German

The conference will take place in online format


  • The conference fee is 45 Euros 

Information for payments Information for payment
IBAN: NL68 INGB 00002633 15
European Society of  Women in Theological Research
Westpoint 115
5038 KG Tilburg