Call for Papers

flyer CFP 2018
Click here to download the flyer in PDF

In keeping with the 1995 General Congregation of the Society of Jesus’ initiatives on interreligious dialogue, the U.S. Jesuit Assistancy for Mission and Interreligious Dialogue and the Boston College Theology Department announce their 16th annual graduate student conference in the areas of comparative theology, interreligious dialogue, theology of religions, and missiology. This conference is open to graduate students both at Jesuit institutions and at other schools of higher education. Undergraduates whose work comes highly recommended by faculty advisors will also be considered.


As we approach the anniversaries of Thomas Merton and Martin Luther, our special topic this year focuses on major figures who reconfigure our understanding of our tradition, or the tradition of another. Sometimes we enter the world of the other through a compelling figure instead of either a text or doctrine. Conversely, a particular text or doctrine can lead us to the personal power of a figure. How does this shape our relationship with this other tradition, or even with our own? As with Thomas Merton’s relationship with Mahanambrata Bramachari, how do interpersonal relationships with another tradition impact our theology? How has the ongoing monastic dialogue that Merton helped inspire affected religious life across traditions? What is the relationship between the juxtapositions that a theologian can engage in alone, and more personal encounters across traditions How do comparative theologians’ differing goals and methodologies lead to different answers to such questions? Successful proposals will explore one or more of these questions from a comparative perspective and offer a constructive insight from its study.


We also invite proposals on critical issues and themes from various disciplinary perspectives (such as but not limited to ethics, systematics, historical studies, biblical studies, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, etc.) in four areas: comparative theology, interreligious dialogue, theology of religions, and missiology.


To submit a proposal, please email an abstract of no more than 250 words to by December 31st, 2017. Please indicate whether you are submitting for the special focus or general call, and include your contact information, institution, and program. Funds are available on a limited basis for participants to help supplement travel expenses. For more information, please contact the Conference Director, Michael VanZandt Collins at


Photograph of Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama. Used with permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.

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