Claremont, Calif. (February 16, 2022)—In a new article in the American Journal of Community Psychology, Pitzer College Visiting Professor of Psychology Jenny Escobar explores how memory—and a shared spiritual connection with lost loved ones—can help survivors of state violence heal and seek justice. The article, “The role of memory practices in building spiritual solidarity for survivors of state violence,” first appeared online in the journal in December 2021.
Escobar defines spiritual solidarity as “acts of love that survivors of state violence enact through memory practices demanding justice for loved ones who have been forcibly disappeared or killed by the state.” The article draws from Escobar’s interviews with 15 survivors of state violence in Colombia.
Through her ethnographic research, Escobar examines how the survivors use memory symbols in everyday actions to connect to loved ones, keep the memories alive by “seeing” loved ones in others and in their surroundings, and create spaces for others to build a spiritual relationship with their own loved ones.
“Remembering is one of the ways people come together to push against mechanisms of state violence that render survivors as invisible,” she writes in the abstract.
At Pitzer, Escobar teaches Psychological Statistics and Research Methods and Psychology of Social Justice. She earned her bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology at John Jay College and her PhD in social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.