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The Reformed Theology and History Unit seeks paper proposals on the following topics:

(1) Katherine Sonderegger, Systematic Theology, Volume 2: The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity: Processions and Persons.

The Reformed Theology and History Unit invites proposals from prospective panelists to join a conversation with Katherine Sonderegger on the topic of her 2020 publication, Systematic Theology, Volume 2: The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity: Processions and Persons. Panelists are invited to engage with the volume and its out working, offering critical analysis and reflection. Papers may address any aspect of Sonderegger’s work including, but not limited to, her engagements with classic and modern figures on the themes of divine Holiness, divine Triunity, divine Mystery, divine Processions, divine Persons, or reading Holy Scripture. Consideration might also be given to the larger shape of Sonderegger’s contribution and the development offered in this volume in light of the first. Proposals should outline short papers that offer constructive review that might in turn empower a bright discussion to follow. Sonderegger will respond to accepted papers and join the conversation with panelists.

(2) The Politics of Providence

A particularly strong version of the doctrine of providence has played a central yet complex role in shaping Reformed theology and identity, from its sixteenth-century origins to the diverse global diaspora today. Calvin ties providence to the doctrine of creation, arguing that God is not a momentary creator but actively watching over and directing the continuing state of the universe. This recalls the ambiguity of the Greek term pronoia: providence is sovereign fore-sight as well as sovereign over-sight. As such, it involves a logic of governance over particular entities, in time and history as well as space and place, which has proven a powerful teaching for Reformed groups experiencing a wide range of circumstances: for example, those legitimating or resisting existing forms of socio-political order; actively (re)forming cities and states; and experiencing displacement or justifying settlement.

We seek papers that critically and constructively explore the relationship between the doctrine of providence and strategies of governance. Papers may be historical, theological, or textual-theoretical, and could explore concrete relationships between “Reformed” (broadly construed) accounts of providence and the following:
- State surveillance or governmentality more generally
- Narratives of historical progress or manifest destiny
- Ranking of peoples according to racial or civilizational taxonomies
- Conceptions of stewardship and ecological exploitation
- Strategies for resisting existing hegemonies or arguments for political quietism
- Justifications for/critiques of the accumulation and uses of wealth
- Justifications for/critiques of civilizational, institutional, religious, racial, species-based or other forms of supremacy
- Valuations/critiques of technology/technocracy
- Valuations/critiques of political theology, in the sense of exploring the validity of the analogy between divine sovereignty and modern political sovereignty
- Arguments for or against human participation in providential activity, whether as stewards or sovereign deputies
- Hermeneutics of discerning the providence of God at work in, with, and under secondary causes
- Pastoral and constructive resourcing for minoritized and persecuted communities

(3) Reformed Tradition and Ecclesial Life in Asian America (co-sponsored)

RTHU and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society invite proposals for papers that examine the Reformed tradition and ecclesial life focusing on the Asian North American context. Interdisciplinary papers engaging with current or historical issues in theology, immigration, race and politics, transnational relations with diasporic communities, theological formation of church leaders, and tensions with and receptions of Reformed theologians and models of Reformed faith would all be suitable topics for inquiry. Historical, theological, intercultural, missiological, sociological, ethnographic, postcolonial, and other methodological approaches are welcome, especially constructive retrievals and imaginings. We especially welcome proposals that focus on communities that have been historically underrepresented within the Asian North American community, including Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander, and communities, as well as interracial dynamics with other BIPOC communities.

Mission Statement:

This Unit seeks to open up the traditions of Reformed Christianity for critical review and study, attending to their theological and historical patterns of belief, practice, and polity. Our aim is to present panels and paper sessions that balance theological and historical approaches, and that attend from diverse perspectives to single figures and larger cultural movements, with a particular interest in exploring emerging or forgotten elements of Reformed thought and practice. In all of these topics, we hope to demonstrate the vitality, originality, and diversity of Reformed Christianity in its worldwide expression.

Method of Submission:




Christina Larsen, larsen.cn@gmail.com

Joshua Ralston, joshua.ralston@ed.ac.uk


Steering Committee:

David Chao, davchao@gmail.com

Rebekah Earnshaw, rebekah.earnshaw@dordt.edu

Arnold Huijgen, ahuijgen@tua.nl

Hanna Reichel, hanna.reichel@ptsem.edu

Michelle Sanchez, msanchez@hds.harvard.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2021