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Call For Papers

Theological Anthropology Topic Session

Administrative Team:
     Vincent Miller (Convener)
     Elizabeth Antus
     Julia Feder

Convention Theme: Justice and Mercy

Session Description:
The Anthropology Topic Session invites paper proposals that consider how theological reflections on what it means to be human have been configured by both justice and mercy. How do these two categories relate to one another in theological anthropology? How are they complementary? In what ways do they challenge or subvert one another? We also invite consideration of the practical ways that humanity has been disfigured by the opposite yet all-too-common realities of inequity and cruelty. How are we to make sense of these profound anthropological contradictions from a theological perspective?

Specifically, the doctrine of the imago Dei offers a valuable focal point for this discussion. On the one hand, this doctrine emphasizes the incomparable dignity of every human person and suggests the human person’s created and graced capacity to reflect divine qualities of justice and mercy. On the other hand, some argue that this doctrine has functioned in an unjust and unmerciful manner by excluding various vulnerable groups: for example, persons with profound intellectual disabilities, communities struggling to survive on the undersides of colonial modernity (an issue particular relevant to the convention’s Puerto Rican venue), and nonhuman forms of life. Does the doctrine of the imago Dei point to what is best or what is worst in humanity? How might this doctrine be developed in order to address more effectively certain pressing issues of justice and mercy in both church and society? Though we will give preference to proposals addressing this topic, we will consider others, especially those that still focus on what it means to be human from a theological perspective.

Proposals should be no longer than 500 words in length. State participant’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information; clearly specify any audio-visual needs; and include (in addition to the word limit) a 100-word précis to be posted in the convention program on the CTSA website. Proposals must be submitted by September 1, 2015, to Vincent Miller (vmiller1@udayton.edu) with notification to be sent on or before September 14, 2015. Proposals will be evaluated by all members of the Anthropology administrative team: Vincent Miller (University of Dayton), Elizabeth Antus (John Carroll University), and Julia Feder (University of Notre Dame). Normally, presenters must be current, dues-paying members of the CTSA or have applied for membership by September 1. Please consult the website to ensure that you have paid your dues. Anyone with an associate or full membership application on file can also submit a proposal if they expect to be accepted for membership in the upcoming June convention. No member may present a paper/respond to a paper/participate on a panel more than once at a given convention. An exception is made for members of under‐represented groups, not including presentations made to the Women’s Consultation on Constructive Theology. A new CTSA rule stipulates that a member may not present more than two years in a row.