College of Arts and Sciences receives grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
November 14, 2019

Seattle University’s College of Arts and Sciences has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support, “Healing Justice: Emergent Wellbeing Practices in Social Movements for Racial and Gender Justice,” a research project led by Dr. Rachel E. Luft, Associate Professor of Sociology. The $249,500 grant funds the research through October 31, 2021.

Dr. Rachel Luft standing outsideThis project explores healing justice, an assortment of frameworks and practices that offer holistic recovery from the psycho-spiritual and physical health consequences of oppression-linked health threats. Composed of an eclectic mix of emotional and spiritual interventions—e.g. trauma work, ancestral practices, and somatic therapies—it recognizes the inextricability of wellbeing and justice. Seeking both individual and movement sustainability, healing justice is transforming movements in the process. “Healing Justice” examines the promise and unintended perils of this emergent phenomenon.

An activist-scholar, Dr. Luft’s primary areas of research specialization are race, gender, intersectionality, and social movements. For years following Hurricane Katrina, which struck while she was teaching at the University of New Orleans, she was a participant observer in grassroots social movement responses to the crisis. Her research explores racialized disaster patriarchy, the intersectional experience and effects of disaster and disaster movement organizing; it can be found in American Quarterly, Feminist Formations, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and other publications. When she is not working, Dr. Luft  can be found walking, serving food around her big dinner table, and cultivating utopian pedagogies.