Catholic Theological Society of America

Catholic Theological Society of America

Call For Papers

Catholic Social Thought Topic Session

Administrative Team:

Laurie Johnston (Convener)
Thomas Massaro, SJ
Gerard Mannion

Convention Theme: Identity and Difference, Unity and Fragmentation

Session Description:
The Catholic Social Thought Topic Session invites paper proposals on the convention’s theme of “identity and difference, unity and fragmentation.”

Catholic social thought is a tradition of reflection that emerged primarily from a European context, so it is susceptible to the charge that it marginalizes many demographic groups (e.g., in the Global South) and their distinctive economic, social and cultural concerns. The laudable signature concerns of the earliest modern Catholic social teaching documents, namely for worker justice and appropriate property relations in the industrialized regions of the world, obviously needs to be supplemented by a wider array of topics regarding the full meaning of social justice and a deeper appreciation for cultural variety.

In light of the values of universal solidarity and respect for difference, how may Catholic social teaching better address today’s pressing social challenges? How would we benefit from new messages, or perhaps a new mode of shaping the content or altering the mode of delivery of Catholic social teaching? How may Catholic social thought grapple with the challenges of globalization, particularly the risk of global cultural homogenization which threatens to submerge cultural differences? What constructive resources does Catholic social teaching bring to conversations about identity and diversity in societies around the world? This year’s convention theme obviously invites a reassessment of the relationship between official Catholic social teaching and wider sources of Catholic reflection on proper social order. Proposals exploring such questions, or other possible ways in which Catholic social thought may improve its appreciation of difference and counteract excessive fragmentation, are especially welcome. Alternatively, proposals might address the challenges to Catholic social thought posed by aspects of the postmodern condition, including the prevalence of special interest groups. Or they might address (looking outward) the state of ecumenical social ethics or (looking inward) internal ecclesial challenges such as ideological polarization within church circles of reflection on social justice. Proposals that do not explicitly touch upon the conference theme are also welcome, but no proposal should include more than three speakers (including any respondents).

Information to be Included in Your Proposal:

  • Your paper proposal should be between 250 and 500 words.
  • You should also include a 100 words précis that will be posted on the CTSA website should your paper be accepted.
  • Please provide the name and institution and contact information of all participants (moderator, presenter, panelist, etc.), including e-mail addresses.
  • Indicate whether you will be requiring A/V equipment. 

Eligibility for Submitting Paper Proposals:

  • CTSA guidelines require that those making proposals ordinarily be associate or full members in good standing with their dues fully paid. 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. Presentations made to the Women’s Consultation on Constructive Theology are included in this rubric.

Deadline: September 1, 2013.  Please submit proposals to:  Laurie Johnston (

You will be notified by e-mail whether your paper has been accepted by September 14, 2013.