Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology
Photo has been edited - PACT buildings and Canberra surrounds

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

Article: “Who can endure it?”: The spiritual opportunity presented by COVID-19

08 May 2020

Article: “Who can endure it?”: The spiritual opportunity presented by COVID-19

Read PaCT Scholar Dr Andrew Errington's article “Who can endure it?”: The spiritual opportunity presented by COVID-19, on the ABC website....

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Article: Theology, health and hygiene: How the Islamic tradition addresses the threat of pandemics

29 Apr 2020

Article: Theology, health and hygiene: How the Islamic tradition addresses the threat of pandemics

Read PaCT fellow Dr Hakan Çoruh's article: "Theology, health and hygiene: How the Islamic tradition addresses the threat of pandemics" on the ABC website....

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Article: Living with pandemic uncertainty amid the ‘Great Disruption’

09 Apr 2020

Article: Living with pandemic uncertainty amid the ‘Great Disruption’

Read PaCT Assistant Director Dr Jonathon Cole's article "Living with pandemic uncertainty amid the ‘Great Disruption’" on the ABC website....

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Article: The problem of strong man politics

06 Apr 2020

Article: The problem of strong man politics

Read PaCT scholar Steven Ogden's article 'The problem on strong man politics' on the ABC website....

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Book News: Prophets as Performers Biblical Performance Criticism and Israel's Prophets by Jeanette Mathews

13 Mar 2020

Book News: Prophets as Performers Biblical Performance Criticism and Israel's Prophets  by Jeanette Mathews

Congratulations to Dr Jeanette Matthews, Pact Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Old Testament Studies at St Mark's National Theological Centre, on her recent publication of Prophets as Performers: Biblical Performance Criticism and Israel's Prophets with Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf & Stock.According to the publisher:The biblical prophets and Biblical Performance Criticism are brought together in three case studies...

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