Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology

Welcome to PACT

Our mission

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.

Parliament House Canberra

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.

Strategic research areas  2017 to 2021

PACT scholars are involved in a variety of research fields. Among them, three key areas of research activity have been identified for 2017-2021.

Christian-Muslim Relations in Australia

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 history of relations between Christians and Muslims
  • religious instruction in schools
  • Islamophobia
  • religious radicalisation and refugee policy.

Religious Social Service Agencies

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.


Religion, Ethics and Climate Change

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 Planetary Futures Project, drawing together:

  • theologians
  • ethicists
  • scientists
  • and public policy experts.

The principal participants are committed to a thorough review of the legacy of their respective disciplines and traditions. It is hoped that the Planetary Futures Project will contribute academic and moral weight to public debate.

Latest News

Archaeology book award for PACT scholar

13 Oct 2017

Archaeology book award for PACT scholar

Congratulations to Public and Contextual Theology Research Fellow Dr Alan Cadwallader who has received a prestigious international book award.The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) named Fragments of Colossae: Sifting Through the Traces the 2017 Best Popular Book on Archaeology.The prize was announced in September 2017 and the judges said the book was 'academic in quality yet popular in readability' which presents the 'historical background, cultural setting and material culture of the.

Discover more

PACT Fellow named as member of Princeton Research Team

24 Jul 2017

PACT Fellow named as member of Princeton Research Team

Dr. Seforosa Carroll has been accepted by the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, as a resident member of the 2017-2018 Research Team on the Inquiry on Religion and Migration led by the Center's Senior Fellow Professor Peter Phan. The working title of Sef's research is Reimagining home: migration, identity and law in a changing climate. The research contributes a particular experience of bringing to bear Pacific Voices on the challenges.

Discover more

The Church, Authority, and Foucault

27 Mar 2017

The Church, Authority, and Foucault

PACT researcher Dr Steven Ogden's new bookThe Church, Authority, and Foucault addresses the problem of the Church's enmeshment with sovereign power, which can lead to marginalization. Breaking new ground, Ogden uses Foucault's approach to power and knowledge to interpret the church leader's significance as the guardian of knowledge. This can become privileged knowledge, under the spell of sovereign power, and with the complicity of clergy and laity in search of.

Discover more

PACT welcomes Dr Alan Cadwallader

27 Mar 2017

PACT welcomes Dr Alan Cadwallader

PACT is delighted to welcome Dr Alan Cadwallader to the Centre. Alan comes to PACT with a range of research interests. He has been researching the ancient site of Colossae for over 15 years with a shelf of resulting publications and plans for three further monographs. He is a foundation member of the Earth Bible Project and is currently writing the EBP Commentary on Mark's Gospel. Alan is fascinated by.

Discover more

The Church in Public Space

27 Mar 2017

The Church in Public Space

The Lutheran World Federation has recently released The Church in the Public Space, a study document offered as part of the Reformation anniversary in 2017. Click here to view the document..

Discover more

All news