The College Theology Society

 Serving Church and Academy Since 1954

Comparative Theology

Mara Brecht, Loyola University Chicago (IL)

Axel M. Oaks Takacs, Seton Hall University (NJ)

The Comparative Theology Section invites papers that explore the 2020 College Theology Society conference theme of “Human Families: Identity, Relationships, and Responsibilities”. This section is particularly interested in proposals on the following questions and topics:

  • The Euro-North American conceptualization of “the family” is inextricably bound to Western, Christian ideas (theological, philosophical, and legal). How does engaging interreligiously in the theology of the family challenge, disrupt, or provide critique of these Christian, Western norms? What role do religio-legal discourses from non-Christian traditions, such as the Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, and various indigenous traditions, play in directing family life, and how do these authoritative discourses interact with those from the Christian tradition (i.e., canonical law governing Catholic marriage)?
  • The lover-beloved metaphor is familiar to how many religious traditions signify the God-human relationship. To what extent do such mystical metaphors reproduce and sustain gender normative relationships between man and woman, and in what ways can they challenge, disrupt, or even “queer” them? What inspiration or resources do religious traditions that include gender non-conformity within their anthropology offer to Christian theologies for LGBTQIA persons?
  • Migrant flows across Europe and North America, combined with restrictive immigration laws, place new pressures on migrant families, and especially migrant children. This gives rise to two different questions: 1) In what ways can comparative theology help stretch or refigure Christian notions of kinship and family as communities seek to welcome migrants? 2) How does the metaphor of “border-crossing” within comparative theology disrupt or sustain the status quo regarding national borders?
  • Increased migration inevitably gives rise to increased religious pluralism and greater opportunity for interreligious/interfaith families, interreligious/interfaith dialogue, and interreligious/interfaith societies/communities. How does the theory and method of comparative theology provide insight into how interreligious/interfaith families, dialogue, and societies/communities may flourish in ways that do not silence one or another religious tradition? Diversity and pluralism do not ipso facto produce an inclusive community-of-difference; the danger of hegemony is ever on the horizon. How can comparative theology learn and grow from interreligious/interfaith communities that maintain real difference-in-community?


As always, this section invites papers that consider the implications of the conference theme for college teaching. Proposals outside of the conference theme but still related to comparative theology, theology of religions, or interreligious dialogue are welcome.


Proposals should be 250-500 words in length and include one’s current institutional affiliation and position. Proposals should be emailed to both conveners by December 15, 2019. Scholars will be notified of the status of their proposals by mid-January.

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


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software