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

PaCT Fellow’s article published in Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

11 Feb 2019

PaCT Fellow’s article published in Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

PaCT Fellow Dr Jane Foulcher has recently had an article published in Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 18, no 2. (2018): 218-30.It resulted from a presentation at the conference of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Keppel, Switzerland, held 27-29 June 2017. Her conference attendance was funded by PaCT in 2017.The conference theme was “Prayer without ceasing”...

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PACT Research Professor meets John Milbank

11 Feb 2019

PACT Research Professor meets John Milbank

Leading international theologian John Milbank and his priest/theologian wife Alison made their first visit to Australia in January. During a busy week of speaking engagements in Sydney, Professor Milbank spent a morning with PACT Research Professor Scott Cowdell.Milbank is the founder of radical orthodoxy, a controversial theological push that seeks to expose the modern secular as a failed theological strategy....

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Book Published: Contesting the Theological Foundations of Islamism and Violent Extremism

04 Feb 2019

Book Published: Contesting the Theological Foundations of Islamism and Violent Extremism

Presentations from The Third Australasian Conference on Islam held in October 2016 on the topic ‘Refuting the Theological Foundations of Violent Extremism and Radicalisation’ have now been published in a book.Published by Palgrave Macmillan, Contesting the Theological Foundations of Islamism and Violent Extremism is edited by Fethi Mansouri who is Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship...

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Cross-cultural Eco-theological in an Indian Ocean published

21 Jan 2019

Cross-cultural Eco-theological in an Indian Ocean published

Congratulations to PaCT Fellow Dr David Reichardt whose book Cross-cultural Eco-theological in an Indian Ocean has been recently published.Dr Reichardt said it was a two-year project which came about after Indian publisher ISPCK’s general secretary asked him to write a textbook on eco-theology for Indian pastors. ISPCK has a policy of trying to provide material on current issues...

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Book News: René Girard and the Nonviolent God

21 Jan 2019

Book News: René Girard and the Nonviolent God

Congratulations to PaCT Research Professor Rev’d Canon Scott Cowdell whose book René Girard and the Nonviolent God has been published by Notre Dame Press.Professor Cowdell research has been supported by PaCT and his new book has received praise from academia.The publishers describe the book as follows:In his latest book on the ground-breaking work of René Girard (1923–2015), Scott...

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