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Annual Convention 2021


Thursday June 3-Sunday June 6

The College Theology Society holds its Sixty-Seventh Annual Convention

June 3 through June 6, 2021

College Theology Society 2021 Convention Theme

The Human in a Dehumanizing World: 

Re-Examining Theological Anthropology and Its Implications

Co-chairs: Jessica Coblentz and Daniel P. Horan, OFM

There is abundant evidence that we live in a dehumanizing world: Colonialism. Inadequate access to healthcare. Exploitative capitalism. White supremacy. Cisnormativity. Xenophobia. Ecological devastation. Sexism. Political and ecclesial corruption. Disproportionate access to vital natural resources. Heteronormativity. Glorified individualism. The violence of war. The violence of our homes, our workplaces, and our church. Sexual assault. Sexual harassment. Sexual abuse. Mental health stigma. Sizeism. Ableism. The systemic neglect of the poor and other vulnerable populations.

Now more than ever, we are inundated with local and international reminders of how these and other cultures and structures compromise the flourishing of human life. Recognizing these multiple and intersecting realities that belie the will of God, Christians are called to resist them in word and deed. As mediators between local realities and the Church Universal, theologians are positioned to offer a contribution to the response of the Christian community. Grounded in the fundamental affirmation of the goodness and dignity of human life, theologians are equipped to explore how Christian teachings and practices can inform and animate the struggle against these dehumanizing cultures and institutions. Theologians are likewise positioned to bring the complexities of injustice and the insights of interdisciplinary analysis to bear on Christianity, exposing inadequacies in and exhorting reforms to Christian thinking and living.

The CTS 2021 convention invites papers that exemplify this critical and constructive work in all areas of theology, ethics, scripture, liturgy, spirituality, and pedagogy, among others. We seek papers from across the theological disciplines that address diverse contexts of dehumanization with an eye toward how we continue to seek greater understanding (fides quaerens intellectum) of the faith Christians profess. Together, we will explore (1) how the resources of the theological tradition can speak to modern contexts, (2) how ongoing developments in various sources of human knowledge and discovery can inform our theological understanding of the human person, and (3) how the classic loci of theological anthropology can be clarified and articulated for the contemporary world.

1. We seek papers that bring various Christian teachings and practice to bear on contexts of dehumanization in service of the flourishing of all humans in this dehumanizing world, especially those marginalized and rendered most vulnerable by the realities of sin. This is an invitation to engage in ressourcement, returning to the diverse sources of the Christian tradition (scriptural, theological, liturgical, spiritual, philosophical, etc.) in order to recover underappreciated, misunderstood, or forgotten resources in order to respond to the “signs of the times” in the “light of the Gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, 4).

2 We seek papers that bring the realities of dehumanization, along with multi- and interdisciplinary analyses of them, to bear on Christian scriptures, teachings, and practices. We desire to see how this interchange engenders vital critiques of Christianity but also, importantly, constructive reinterpretations of Christian scripture, teachings, and practice in support of aggiornamento, or the necessary “updating” and continuing development of doctrine. What do the insights of the natural and social sciences, history and historiography, ethnography and anthropology, psychology, cultural criticism, contemporary philosophy, or any of the many diverse sources of human learning teach us about ourselves and the manner in which we express that reality theologically? Furthermore, what are the manifold implications of how we are called to live in right relationship with one another, all of creation, and God that arise from such multi- and inter-disciplinary analyses?

3. We seek papers that explore the central doctrinal loci of theological anthropology. Among the various trajectories in this line of scholarship, we welcome efforts to retrieve and reinterpret central doctrines (sin, imago Dei, grace, creation, etc.) in relation to specific contexts of injustice. Additionally, we invite a bold and constructive exploration of the ethical, social, and economic implications of such retrievals and reinterpretations of these central Christian doctrines pertaining to our understanding of the human person.

Plenary Speakers

Karen Kilby, Bede Professor of Catholic Theology, Durham University

Andrew Prevot, Associate Professor, Boston College

Cristina Traina, Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Chair of Catholic Theology, Fordham University

Section specific Call for Papers may be found at CTS 2021 Call for Papers

Please feel free to contact the convention co-chairs with any questions: Jessica Coblentz ( and Dan Horan (

[As we explore “The Human in a Dehumanizing World” in 2021, we invite members to look forward to the 2022 convention theme as well: “‘Why We Can’t Wait’: Racism and the Church.”]


Scholars who are invited to present their work at a national convention of the College Theology Society must be current members of the CTS in order to appear in the program.  No person may submit more than one proposal for consideration nor will submissions to multiple sections be considered.  Failure to observe these policies may result in the scholar's disqualification to present a paper at the Annual Convention.

The National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion will once again be joining us this year.

Further questions about our 2021 Annual Convention at Spring Hill College can be directed to Andy Getz, Executive Director of National Conventions, at

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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