The Open and Relational Theologies Unit promotes academic research and discourse on open, relational, and process methods and perspectives (including those of open theism, process philosophy, and other relational and personalists traditions). These explorations tend to be constructive in nature, regularly involving theological and philosophical speculation about the nature of God, freedom, power, relationality, materiality, love, and more. Our Unit's inquiries also explore the implications of open-relational methods and perspectives on a wide range of social, scientific, and spiritual topics. We welcome contributions from across religious traditions.
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Open and Relational Theologies Unit
Call for Proposals
For 2022, we are inviting proposals on the following topics that have been intentionally crafted to address the presidential theme of Religion and Catastrophe:
- Grief, Trauma, and Care in Times of Catastrophe (Co-Sponsored with Religion and Disability Studies Unit and Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Construction Unit)
What distinct insights are available when catastrophic events are experienced and analyzed from within a disability perspective? What kinds of responses to trauma are needed to adequately grieve, mourn, and flourish? How do disability perspectives (from within and without religious communities and their sacred texts) imagine and practice a different world and collective future in which mutual care in vulnerability is possible? Which histories, theologies, cosmologies, or theories of grief and flourishing in times of catastrophe need to be centered?
- Relational Cosmologies and Mystical Practices for Ecological Repair (Co-Sponsored with Mysticism Unit)
This panel will consider mystical cosmologies of relation as grounds for resistance to impending climate catastrophe. Cosmologies of separation deem God, humanity, and creation to be discrete, and have been used to justify centuries of extractive colonialism and environmental degradation, leading to today's climate catastrophes, as well as cutting humans off from the spiritual riches resident within nature. What might sacred cosmologies of connection yield instead? How can alternative relational cosmologies serve to open humankind to the mystical abundance resident within nature and more fruitfully ground an ecological ethics of repair? What sorts of mystical practices might embody or channel relational cosmologies and attune practitioners to the interconnections between the divine, the human, and the creaturely?
We are also hosting a Book Panel on Process Thought in Roman Catholicism: Challenges and Promises, John Becker and Marc Puglieses, eds. (Lexington Press, 2022). (Panel will be pre-populated by volume contributors.)
This collection of essays explores convergences and divergences between Process thought and Roman Catholicism with the goal of identifying reasons why Process philosophy and theology has not had the same impact in Roman Catholic circles as in Protestantism and of constructively navigating avenues of promising engagement between Process thought and Roman Catholicism. In creatively considering the Roman Catholic tradition from the vantage point of Process thought, different theoretical perspectives are brought to bear on Catholic characteristics of historical theology, fundamental theology, systematic theology, moral theology, social justice, and theology of religions.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Donna Bowman, University of Central Arkansas1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Tripp Fuller, University of Edinburgh1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Janna Gonwa, Yale University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Thomas Hermans-Webster, Boston University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027