College Theology SocietyServing Church and Academy Since 1954

Sexuality, Relationships, Marriage, and Family Life

2023 Call for Papers

Mary Gratton, Immaculata University (PA)

Emma McDonald, Boston College (MA)

This year’s conference theme, ““Theology and Media(tion): Rendering the Absent Present,” invites us to consider how dynamics of absence and presence take shape in our families, intimate relationships, and kinship networks. From historical negotiations of absence and presence in Christian liturgy, practice, and writing, to contemporary expressions of absence and presence experienced during the pandemic and in light of innovations in communication technology, the Sexuality, Relationships, Marriage and Family Life invites analysis of these dynamics in contexts past and present.

The Sexuality, Relationships, Marriage, and Family Life section warmly invites papers, panel proposals, and as well as workshop proposals in order to shed light on some aspects of these topics. Preference will be shown to proposals that explicitly engage the conference theme. Potential topics might include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: 

  • How technology became an instrument of God to keep people connected in relationship with one another during the pandemic

  • Experiences of absence and presence in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Negotiations of virtual work “presence” as it relates to family life

  • Navigations of family member absence and presence emerging from experiences of incarceration, migration, deportation, and disability

  • Absence and presence in liturgical expression and theological reflection on sexuality, marriage, and family life

  • Systemic inequalities and the “digital divide” 

  • Digital technologies, sexuality and the formation of relationships

  • Social media and family life

  • Virtual liturgies, online streaming of sacraments, and family life

  • Technological developments impacting families (e.g., digital technologies used in educational settings; virtual school; facial recognition and surveillance technologies that contribute to deportations and incarceration) 

  • The ways churches do (or could) engage single, childless adults in the absence of traditional family attachments and structures

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, 2022. 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.


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