Theological imaginaries and models of development (Registration available)

Theological imaginaries and models of development: A reflexive workshop

Campion Hall, Oxford
Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 1.30-5.30pm


A large proportion of development actors in Latin America are inspired by their Catholic faith and act through Catholic institutions.  At the same time, Latin America has been the site of plural Catholic theologies with explicit social and political implications.  This exploratory workshop aims to understand how distinct theological imaginaries shape models of social action (and vice versa).


1.45-2pm: Introduction: Framing the discussion: What difference does theology make? 

  • Séverine Deneulin (International Development, U. Bath)
  • and Emilio Travieso (Campion Hall)


2-3.30pm: Session1: Theological bearings

This session discusses the different theological currents that have influenced social actors in Latin America, especially liberation theology and the “development theology” of Catholic Social Teaching. How are they different?  In what ways do they overlap, and even interact?  What are the implications of different theological paradigms for styles of social action?

To get the discussion started, there will be three 10 min presentations to address the following:

  • Liberation theology in Latin America and beyond. Philip Kennedy (Campion Hall)
  • Liberation theology and Catholic Social Teaching. Michael Kirwan (Heythrop College)
  • Migration and the inter-cultural transformation of liberation theology.  Jorge Castillo Guerra (Radboud U. and Nijmegen Institute for Mission Studies)
  • Chair/discussant: Séverine Deneulin


4-5.30pm: Session 2: How does theology inform action, and vice versa?

This session explores the empirical interactions between theological imaginaries and models of praxis, as part of wider constellations that include particular contexts, spiritual traditions, and sociological imaginaries to constitute a frame for meaningful action. 

To get the discussion started, we will have three 10 min presentations to address the following:

  • Implications of liberation theology for economic policy. Valpy Fitzgerald (Oxford Dep. Of International Development, emeritus)
  • Contributions of the “economy of gift” to current economic thinking. James Hanvey (Campion Hall)
  • Theology and reducing urban inequality in Latin America. Séverine Deneulin
  • Chair/discussant: Emilio Travieso



This workshop is intended to bring together theologians, social scientists, pastoral agents, and development practitioners.  While the focus of discussions will be Catholicism in Latin America, people with an interest in other religious traditions and/or world regions are welcome to attend.

The workshop is free of cost, but space is limited to 20 participants. Registration is required.  To register, please email and by 31st May.  Confirmed participants are encouraged to prepare some notes beforehand about their own insights, experiences and questions to bring to the discussion. 


*photo courtesy Marcos Gonzales, SJ