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 speaks at Sailing to Byzantium

05 Jul 2019

PaCT fellow speaks at Sailing to Byzantium

Sailing to Byzantium: A Month of Talks on the Orthodox Church’s Byzantine LegacyWith the blessing of His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Apollonias, sub-dean of St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College, and the initiative of Revd Father Athanasios Giatsios, parish priest of St Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, Mascot NSW, in the month of May St Catherine’s co-organised a series of talks...

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PaCT papers accepted at Global Network of Public Theology

05 Jul 2019

PaCT papers accepted at Global Network of Public Theology

Three PaCT members have had their papers accepted at the Global Network of Public Theology (GNPT) Conference to be held in Bamberg, Germany 23 – 26 September 2019.The theme of this year’s triennial conference is “Place and Space: Theological perspectives on living in the world”.The three papers accepted are “Dialogical Space: Cusanus and Public Theology” by UTC Principal...

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Book news: A King and a Fool?

28 Jun 2019

Book news: A King and a Fool?

Congratulations to PaCT Fellow Dr Virginia Miller whose book A King and a Fool? The Succession Narrative as a Satire has been published by Brill and due to be released on 24 October 2019.According to the Publisher:In A King and a Fool? The Succession Narrative as a Satire Virginia Miller applies a new version of Douglas Muecke’s...

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Jonathan Cole appointed PaCT Assistant Director

28 Jun 2019

Jonathan Cole appointed PaCT Assistant Director

The Director of PaCT Professor Stephen Pickard is pleased to announce that Dr Jonathan Cole has been appointed as the new Assistant Director of PaCT from 1 July 2019."Jonathan was awarded his doctorate in the area of Political Theology last year and is a prolific writer and publisher of scholarly work that aligns well with PaCT," he said."He has been...

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Jonathan Cole: Jihadism has been an abject failure, but what does Western success look like?

21 Jun 2019

Jonathan Cole: Jihadism has been an abject failure, but what does Western success look like?

PaCT Fellow Dr Jonathan Cole has published an opinion piece in ABC Religion and Ethics titled 'Jihadism has been an abject failure , but what does western success look like?'...

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