The Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT) is focused on public and contextually informed theological research and engagement with issues of national and global significance. PACT has a history of collaborative research by scholars of many religious traditions and a commitment to future inclusion and expansion.
A founding member of the Global Network for Public Theology, PACT is committed to becoming the lead centre in the Asia-Pacific region for research at the interface of theology and public issues. The rich intellectual traditions of diverse faiths, along with their abiding focus on questions of human value, are interwoven in our Research Streams with discourses on ethnicity, politics, gender, economics, ecology, and much more.
Situated in the national capital, PACT aims to contribute to the public good, in Australia and beyond, through research, scholarly publications and public engagement.
PACT scholars are involved in a variety of research fields. Among them, three key areas of research activity have been identified for 2017-2021.
Given Australia's changing religious demographics, the close interaction between people of different faiths in the major cities and now also in regional Australia, and the significant attention paid to religious radicalisation by government, police and the media, this area of research is highly relevant.
PACT's close relationship with the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) means that CSU is one of the few universities in Australia able to draw Christian and Muslim theologians together under the auspices of one Centre to produce collaborative research output.
Areas of research activity include:
The social service agencies of religious institutions receive substantial government funding. These agencies are already a large sector of the social service economy in Australia and are expanding with the implementation of the NDIS. They represent the most significant public connection between religion and government in Australian society.
Research is tailored toward assessing the impact of public expenditure in the social service economy via religious institutions and toward the interests of churches and religious agencies by assessing the theory and practice of their social service activities.
Effective action on climate change calls for religious as well as political leadership. A reconsideration of how economists, ethicists and particularly the religions have conceived of humanity's relationship to the planet is critical.
PACT has developed the Religion, Ethics and the Anthropocene project, drawing together:
The principal participants are committed to a thorough reconsideration of the legacy of their respective disciplines and traditions, and to fresh theology, philosophy and ethics to help us understand what it means to be human in the potentially devastating Anthropocene Epoch.
21 May 2018
PACT Fellow and St Mark's history lecturer Dr Michael Gladwin has published a chapter each in two publications produced by the Oxford University Press.'Anglicanism in Oceania in the 20th Century' was released last month in The Oxford History of Anglicanism and covers the history of Anglicanism in the Pacific region.'Mission and Colonialism' dwells on the intellectual history of Christianity and Empire, and was published in The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century.
14 May 2018
By PACT Fellow Dr Bernard Doherty.While discussions of undue Chinese influence in Australian politics, President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption, and Chinese territorial expansion in the South China Sea have all featured heavily in recent Australian discussions on China, the topic of the Chinese state’s attitude toward religion has received far-less coverage – especially its treatment of religious minorities.While many Christians are at least vaguely aware of the often restrictive.
14 May 2018
United Theological College (UTC) hosted an inter-faith Peace Conference in March which was supported by the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre (PACT).The event was organised by UTC lecturer Dr Anthony Rees who is also a Research Fellow with PACT.He said the event brought together Islamic and Christian academics who used “sacred texts as a site to discuss the understanding and communications of religion through texts”.A story about the event.
08 May 2018
Associate Professor David Neville, who is head of Charles Sturt University's School of Theology, spoke at the recent Christians for an Ethical Society Forum on Hope and Peace on the 24th April 2018.His lecture was recorded and can be downloaded to listen to here.David Neville’s recently published examination of Gospel passages which appear to challenge the notion that the message and mission of Jesus was inherently peaceful is a timely.
03 Apr 2018
Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre Scholar Rev'd Canon Scott Cowdell was recently published in The Australian Financial Review about the Australian Cricket ball-tampering scandal. His piece, 'Cricket cheats treat on the sacred' was published on the 28th March and is republished below. Cricket cheats tread on the sacredForget Holy Week and Easter, because what counts as truly sacred has been revealed in Cape Town.Cricket officials have intoned a sober.
St Francis College and PACT will host a three day symposium from 15-17 June, gathering artists, theologians and philosophers to reflect on the relationship between theology and art. Registration information and the call for papers may be found here....
A two day conference to be held at United Theological College, 16 Masons Drive North ParramattaTHE CONFERENCEFor some years the assumption in Australia was that the role of governments and civil society (the institutions that mediate between individuals and the state) was to expand the social, economic and political rights...
PACT Fellow Dr Mehmet Ozalp from the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisations at CSU will give a free public lecture about the Ottoman Empire on Saturday June 30.Entering the world stage at 1299 as a small polity at the periphery of the collapsing Seljuk Empire, Ottomans have built and...
The Centre for Ecumenical Studies (within Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, CSU) will present “Looking Beyond Division,” a five-day intensive introduction to ecumenism to be held at the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane. For all enquiries: Contact phone no. 02 6272 6201 Email: CLedger@csu.edu.auRegister via ACC&C website...