This Unit engages practical theology and religious practice, reflects critically on religious traditions and practices, and explores issues in particular subdisciplines of practical theology and ministry. The Unit engages this mission in five interrelated public spheres with the following goals: For practical theology — to provide a national and international forum for discussion, communication, publication, and development of the field and its related subdisciplines For theological and religious studies — to foster interdisciplinary critical discourse about religious practice, contextual research and teaching for ministry, and practical theological method and pedagogy For a variety of religious traditions — to enhance inquiry in religious practice and practical theology For academic pedagogy — to advance excellence in teaching and vocational development for faculty in divinity and seminary education generally and for graduate students preparing to teach in such settings specifically For the general public — to promote constructive reflection on social and cultural dynamics and explore the implications of religious confession and practice.
You are here
Practical Theology Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
Roundtable Session: Re-membering the Pioneers: Honoring Feminist and Womanist Practical Theologians
Join us for a thought-provoking panel discussion between the trailblazing and contemporary scholars in feminist and womanist practical theology. Practical (and pastoral) theology promotes passing on faith and/or wisdom from one generation to another. In this session, we aim to weave together narratives from seasoned and contemporary scholars in the area of feminist and womanist theologians.
Through engaging storytelling, we will delve into the experiences and wisdom that have shaped the landscape of theological thought. Our focus on practical theology theories will guide us in exploring the profound impact these pioneers have had on the discipline. What lessons has practical theology learned from their perspectives, and how have these insights influenced the trajectory of our field?
This panel is not only a retrospective; it is an opportunity to amplify new voices. We invite participants to share their interpretations and forward-thinking insights. As we honor the past, we also look to the future, contemplating where practical theology needs to evolve and expand. What challenges and opportunities lie ahead, and how can we collectively contribute to shaping the future of practical theology?
Join us for a rich dialogue that spans generations, acknowledging the roots of feminist and womanist theology while sowing seeds for continued growth and exploration. Together, let's celebrate, reflect, and chart a course for the ongoing journey of practical theology.
The intersection of Practical Theology and qualitative research methodologies presents a rich terrain for exploration and discovery. We invite scholars, researchers, and practitioners to contribute to a dynamic session focused on creative qualitative research methodologies, including in contexts of teaching and learning and creative ways of combining/integrating/interpreting theological perspectives with social scientific research methods, in Practical Theology.
Key themes for possible presentations:
- Embodied Approaches: Explore methodologies that engage the researcher's own lived experiences and bodily presence in the field. Visual and Performative Methods: Investigate the use of visual arts, performance, and other creative mediums as tools for theological inquiry
- Digital Religion(s) and Theology: Examine how digital platforms and technologies can be utilized in qualitative research within the context of practical theology.
- Postcolonial Perspectives: Interrogate traditional research paradigms and introduce postcolonial frameworks to enrich the understanding of practical theology.
- Feminist and Womanist Methodologies: Investigate how feminist and womanist theories and methodologies can be integrated into practical theology research, challenging and expanding current approaches.
Abstracts (up to 500 words) should illustrate the research question and best practices, methodology, and anticipated creative contributions. Submissions should embody a creative spirit, as presentations eventually chosen for the session will be asked to demonstrate their methodologies in some way. Presentations will be short, Ted Talk-like introductions of 7-10 minutes.
Practical Theology and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
From wars to structural violence, from interpersonal to intrapersonal violence, or from institutional to ecological violence, violence in various forms permeates our daily life. This session recognizes engagement with such lived experience as a core aspect of practical theology and calls for papers that explore the frontiers of such engagements. The practical theology unit has been wrestling with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) as our on-going inspiration, and this session invites the practical theologians to ponder upon the 16th goal of peace, justice, and strong institutions. We invite papers that explores the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, access to justice for all and the building of effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions from the perspective of lived religion.
This call for paper is intentionally broad in its scope to provide a space for various voices to be heard.
For example, we are looking for proposals in the field of practical theology that:
- Explore the emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual, and structural processes that generate violence or non-violent resistance to destructive or degenerative functioning of communities and institutions.
- Explore the mechanisms and dynamics that lead to ideologies that divide societies and destruct the social fabric that enhances peaceful coexistence.
- Investigate the role of practical theology and/or the church in advocating for social justice, addressing systemic violence, and promoting transformative practices within communities.
- Investigate the psychological, spiritual, cultural, and structural issues in interpersonal violence in various contexts.
- Explore the relationship between religions/spirituality and the establishment of just institutions, critiquing existing systems, and proposing practical theological frameworks for fostering justice.
- Analyze the role of religion and spirituality in wars and international/intranational conflicts from a practical theological perspective.
- Showcase practical theological methodologies that strategically participate in the justice or peace promoting processes in the given research site, or other innovative praxis that resist violence and create space for peace.
- Explore the intersection of practical theology with homiletics, delving into the ways in which preaching and religious discourse contribute to shaping attitudes, values, and actions within communities. Investigate the transformative potential of homiletics in promoting peace, justice, and resilience against violence.
- Investigate the pedagogical aspects of practical theology, focusing on the educational dimensions that foster social transformation. Analyze how religious education can contribute to building resilient communities, addressing systemic issues, and cultivating a deeper understanding of justice. Propose innovative pedagogical approaches within the context of practical theology to empower communities towards constructive change.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Jaco Dreyer, University of South Africa1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Joyce Mercer, Yale University1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Hee-Kyu Heidi Park, Ewha Womans University, Korea1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Vanderbilt University1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029
Knut Tveitereid, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Shantelle Weber, University of Stellenbosch1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027