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.
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Practical Theology Unit
Call for Proposals
- The paradigm of growth: practical theological challenges
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, sustained and inclusive economic growth (Sustainable Development Goals https://sdgs.un.org/goals ) is a key element in the Global Goals as a driver for progress worldwide. Economic growth is thus seen as a necessary means to meet an equal distribution and improvement of global wealth. However, while honoring values of sustainability and inclusion, the commitment to growth raises a range of questions to be dealt with, theoretically as well as practically. Growth has been a central metaphor in the discipline of practical theology, whether it be religious education, spiritual care, or ecclesiastical practices, to name a few. Standing in the mingling point of this global developmental metaphor of growth and our discipline, we seek papers that practical theologically engage the challenges ranging from theoretical assumptions and critical methodological reflection on the growth paradigm to questions raised in lived experiences within the growth paradigm. Questions that facilitate such engagements include:
- What is growth? Is growth imperative? Is growth a paradigm of nature or the anthropocentric neoliberal market?
- Can growth happen justly, or does growth's premise include the exclusion/expulsion of anyone or anything? How does human labor/work and investment play into or excluded from the ideology of growth?
- How does the ideology of growth manifest as pedagogical, ecclesiastic, or cultural paradigms? As a paradigm for spiritual growth and care?
- How can practical theology contribute to overcome the challenges of the growth paradigm as the increase in population, climate crisis, and pressure from the pandemic question standard Western political and financial strategies as a viable way forward?
- Practical Theology and Aesthetics
Aesthetics and theopoetics continue to evoke imaginative intersections with practical theology for they have the power to change the way we understand and embody reality. The Practical Theology Unit invites proposals for presentations that engage any dimension of the intersection of aesthetics and/or theopoetics and practical theology. These can be regarding theological language, method, modes of knowing and knowledge creation, and social transformation, as well as any intersections with sub-disciplines of practical theology. We welcome proposals that not only advance the research and discourse on practical theology and aesthetics, but also--and especially--those that attend to presentational modalities that highlight the role that aesthetics play in practical theological construction. To that end, we welcome creative presentations that not only explore methodological and theoretical implications for the study of practical theology, but also themselves demonstrate, inhabit, and embody the intersection of practical theology and aesthetics in lived expression.
- Book Panel: The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Theology and Qualitative Research
Co-Sponsored Session with Ecclesial Practices Unit (closed to submissions)
In the last twenty years, there has been a steady rise in the numbers of doctoral students and academics who have taken up the challenge of working as theologians with qualitative methods of enquiry. Qualitative research has much to offer theology, yet, in doing so, what is meant by theology and indeed what it means to be a theologian undergoes significant revision. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Theology and Qualitative Research is born out of excitement around these developments. The book contains 50 chapters by some of the most prolific researchers in the field.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Jaco Dreyer, University of South Africa1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Kirsten Donskov Felter, Centre For Pastoral Education and Research1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
Courtney T. Goto, Boston University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Hee-Kyu Heidi Park, Ewha Womans University, Korea1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Katherine Turpin, Iliff School of Theology1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027