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 the Anthropocene

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:

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

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.

Latest News

PaCT Fellow: Community support for euthanasia

16 Jul 2018

PaCT Fellow: Community support for euthanasia

PaCT Fellow Dr Anthony Hogan (pictured) has prepared a paper for instinct and reason about community perspectives on end stages of life showing support for euthanasia. Published in June 2018, the report titled ‘Community perspectives on end-stage of life, assisted dying and religion’, looked at attitudes of Boomers (50 years and older) and Millennials (18─35 year olds) using survey data gathered by instinct and reason. The study found that two-thirds.

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PaCT Fellow writes in ABC Religion and Ethics

06 Jul 2018

PaCT Fellow writes in ABC Religion and Ethics

PaCT Fellow Dr Andrew Errington has written a piece in ABC Religion and Ethics titled 'The Courage of Faith or the Heroism of Unbelief?'.

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PACT Research Professor to present at Colloquium on Violence and Religion

26 Jun 2018

 PACT Research Professor to present at Colloquium on Violence and Religion

PACT Research Professor Scott Cowdell is presenting a paper at the annual conference of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, to be held at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, in mid-July. The theme for this international gathering of Girardian scholars explores our present “after truth” moment. Organizers say that this will perhaps be their most important conference in nearly 30 years, given the topicality of the theme in a troubled.

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PACT Director to speak at Christian-Muslim Studies Network event

26 Jun 2018

PACT Director to speak at Christian-Muslim Studies Network event

PACT Director Professor Stephen Pickard will present a paper at Christian-Muslim Studies Network event in July. ‘Speaking of the One God: Diving Essence, Attributes, and Names in Christian-Muslim Debates’ event features Dr Rowan Williams and will be held on the 15-16th July at The University of Edinburgh. Professor Pickard will present a paper titled ‘Barth on Divine simplicity and the attributes of God: theological agenda for Christian/Muslim dialogue.’ The abstract.

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PACT Fellow writes on ethical values and Maqasid al-Shari‘ah in Meccan Qur’an

12 Jun 2018

PACT Fellow writes on ethical values and Maqasid al-Shari‘ah in Meccan Qur’an

PACT Fellow Dr Hakan Coruh recently published an article in Australian Muslim Times titled 'Ethical Values and Maqasid al-Shari‘ah in Meccan Qur’an'. Dr Hakan Coruk teaches at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisations based in Sydney..

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