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 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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PACT Fellow on political authority and politics

06 Jun 2018

PACT Fellow on political authority and politics

PACT Fellow Jonathan Cole has recently been published in the international journal Christian Studies in Ethics on political authority.His article “Towards a Christian Ontology of Political Authority: The Relationship between Created Order and Providence in Oliver O’Donovan’s Theology of Political Authority” was published online recently.The abstract states: This article argues that the formally similar conceptions of political authority provided in Oliver O’Donovan’s Resurrection and Moral Order and The Desire of.

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PACT Fellow published in Oxford University Press series

21 May 2018

PACT Fellow published in Oxford University Press series

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.

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Religion and the state in the Peoples Republic of China

14 May 2018

Religion and the state in the Peoples Republic of China

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.

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Muslim and Christian scholars come together at Peace Conference

14 May 2018

Muslim and Christian scholars come together at Peace Conference

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.

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