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Welcome to the web presence of the Global Network for Public Theology! As a network with member institutions from all continents, we foster scholarly exchange about the contribution of Christianity to public discourse in such diverse fields as social ethics, environmental ethics, and political ethics. Research within the network focuses on the respective regional, cultural, social, and political contexts in which churches and academic theologians work in their countries and on the bearing these contexts have on theology.

Within the cycle of triennial consultations, the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Research Centre for Public Theology in Bamberg (Germany) is the host institution for the next global consultation of the network. Established in 2008 in the tradition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who, strongly founded in Christian belief, critically and self-critically addressed the chances, dangers and deep ambiguities of church and politics in his time, the Bamberg research centre focusses on the conditions under which Christianity raises its voice in public. How can Christian theology contribute to public discourse in highly complex, religiously plural, and increasingly secular societies in Western Europe? The Bonhoeffer Centre for Public Theology is proud to be located in an academic environment which is highly conducive to research across the disciplines, with a focus on arts and humanities. Theology in Bamberg concentrates on the professional formation of future teachers, with Chairs in Protestant and in Catholic Theology, and with a Centre for Interreligious Studies.

As the Chair of the GNPT Executive Committee, it is my pleasure to invite all members and interested guests from outside the network to the upcoming consultation with the general topic: “Space and place: Theological perspectives on living in the world”. You will find all necessary details in the call for papers on this site.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Wabel ▪ Chair of the Global Network for Public Theology

This was the Call for Papers

The executive board of the Global Network for Public Theology (GNPT) is pleased to announce its Call for Papers for the upcoming consultation of the GNPT. The consultation will be held September 23rd–26th, 2019 at the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Research-Centre for Public Theology, University of Bamberg, Germany.

The topic of the consultation: “Place and Space: Theological perspectives on living in the world”

Public theologies reflect on the contextuality of the Christian religion. Much of this contextuality is dependent on place: place as the culture and the society in which religions are situated, place as the position from where a theologian speaks, place as the biographical contingencies that shape people’s lives. Moreover, public theologies ask for the contribution of Christian ethics to society, thereby shaping the social, cultural, and religious space to which they belong. The consultation analyses the categories of space and place to deepen the understanding of contextuality as well as to explore glocal problems.

Proposals addressing one of the following dimensions are welcomed:

  • place to live

Who belongs to a nation, society, or community? Who may belong? How does migration influence societies? What are the possibilities – globally and locally – to alleviate the drawbacks that may result from the chances of birthplace?

– keywords: migration, homelessness, new concepts of housing; trading citizenships; colonised and invaded space, work in a globalised world

  • space to live

How is public space shaped and used? How do forms of aesthetic expression change the self-awareness of a society? How can public space be prevented from eroding? How do we deal with spaces of exclusion from society?

– keywords: civil society, urban development, architecture and aesthetics, memorials and monuments, perception of and public support for public space, private and public space

  • sacred space

How is the distinction between “sacred” and “profane” drawn in different contexts? What is the public function of sacred places in religiously plural societies? Can spirituality encourage to move beyond existing borders? Which heterotopias, sacred and secular, can we discover?

– keywords: churches as space within space: encounter with God, space for retreat, place of commemoration, platform for intercultural exchange; church buildings and their secular use; the church within society: mechanisms of exclusion and paternalism of inclusion;

  • space and speech

From where do we speak? How does religion affirm or challenge mechanisms of segregation?

– keywords: theologies of positionality and their limits: nationalism, theology of the land; populist movements; lebensraum; space and perspective

  • politics of space

Which borders regulate access to the public in a given society? Is there a hierarchy of spaces within society?

– keywords: the public and civil society; gender, race, and other ways of coding public space; othering and asymmetries of social construction, zones and milieus, criteria of access and marginalisation, permeability of social space(s); space and stage: self-presentation in public

  • God and space

How does the spatial turn influence our image of God? How to deal with God’s presence and absence in biblical theology and contextual perception? How is our perception of God shaped by its context?

– keywords: contextual theology and the doctrine of God; instances of kenotic theology: creation theology, theology of liberation; divided obligations: to the state, to God

Deadline for proposals and submission guidelines

We invite theologians and scholars of neighbouring research areas to submit proposals of no more than 300 words by December 31st, 2018. These can be submitted electronically to dbfoet.fs-oet@uni-bamberg.de. Please add a (provisional) title to your proposal and send us your contact details.

The conference language will be English.

Accepted papers might be published in the conference proceedings.

Please feel free to distribute this call for papers to other interested parties.

Hoping to welcome you in Bamberg,

Prof. Dr. Thomas Wabel ▪ Chair of the Global Network for Public Theology

Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Research-Centre for Public Theology

University of Bamberg

Markusplatz 3 ▪ 96047 Bamberg ▪ Germany

dbfoet.fs-oet@uni-bamberg.de ▪ +49 (0) 951 / 863-3023