International Joint Conference, 1-2 Maret 2019

Doing Theology in the Contemporary Indonesia Interdisiplinary Perspectives. Collaboration between:

AFTI (Asosiasi Filsafat Teologi Indonesia / Indonesian Association of Philosophy and Theology Institutes), AAFKI (Asosiasi Ahli Filsafat Keilahian Indononesia / Indonesian Association of Divinity Studies Scholars), AsTeKia (Asosiasi Teolog Katolik Indonesia / Indonesian Association of Catholic Theologians), and Sanata Dharma University School of Theology – The Wedabhakti Pontifical Faculty of Theology.

Terms of Reference


Asia is a dynamic region in the world, where all the streams and currents are found, where religion and spirituality and traditional values continue to play a crucial role in the lives of our people, where the economy is also growing. The three biggest economies are in Asia: China, India, and Japan, while Indonesia is often included in the major emerging economies in the world. Asia is also a place where the creative energy of the youth is found.  And the litany of progress can continue.

            But, we are also made deeply aware of the ambiguities and tensions that Asia is finding itself in. Asia might continue to be a deeply religious place, but it is also a place where religious radicalism is becoming a pressing problem, not just in the Middle East but elsewhere, including India and Indonesia, even Yogyakarta. Despite its size and growth, Asian economy has not been able to solve the problem of inequality and even contributes to the further degradation of the environment. Asian democracy has also been tainted with tribal politics and corruption. Asia is also a crucial player in  the phenomenon of migration with all its aspects, positive and negative. People move around a lot for different reasons, but mainly to make a more decent living. And many of them are vulnerable migrants.  Asia’s youth continues to be faced with the problems, including  mental and spiritual problems, such as loneliness, the lack of meaning in life, and so forth.

            In the face of those challenges, Asian theology and theologians, together with Asian churches, have the duty to make contribution. Scholars have continued to see Asian Christianity as a dynamic and rich entity, capable of making significant contribution to the world Christianity and the larger global society.  But, the question is: what kind of contribution can we make? In Veritatis Gaudium, Pope Francis mentions the need for the formation of guiding synthesis that our society is in dire need of. Theological communities need to come together to form this guiding synthesis for our time, to help our society navigate our turbulent time and overcoming different crises and problems that stem from our confusion of understanding our humanity, the world, and the cosmos. This contribution should be better made through interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and networking. 

            So far,  Asian theology is quite dynamic with significant contribution coming from the Indian, East Asian (Korea, Japan, Taiwan), Southeast Asian (Filipino) theologians. But there is a more urgent need to make an intra-Asian dialogue among theologians, as well as interdisciplinary dialog with different scholars. 

            In this regard, the time has come for Indonesian theologians to contribute more significantly to the discourse on theology in general and Asian theology in particular. However, Indonesian society itself is an urgent and rich context where theologians ought to do the theologizing.  We need to seek creative ways to engage Indonesian and Asian reality through theology in dialog with other disciplines. Hence, the theme of our conference is: “Doing Theology in Contemporary Indonesia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.”

            This conference will help us map the context and situation of Asia and Indonesia and start identifying ways to make deeper and more serious engagements with that reality.  And, in the spirit of ecumenism and collaboration and interdisciplinarity, this conference is jointly held by three associations of theologians and philosophers as well as their institutions. 

The aims:

  • identifying major areas, fields, topics, of doing theology in the context of Indonesia
  • identifying relevant and new methodologies and background theories,  including interdisciplinary approaches, that can be used for doing theology in Indonesia
  • mapping areas and ways of collaboration between different scholars and theologians
  • facilitating the publication of papers in scholarly journals

Main Speakers:

  • Prof Felix Wilfred, the University of Madras, senior Asian theologian, editor of International Journal of Christianity in Asia and the international journal of Concilium, will speak about the map of Asian theologies and methodologies, including its interdisciplinarity
    • Dr Raymundus Sudiarsa, theologian from STFT Widya Sasana, Malang, and will respond  
    • Dr. Clarence Devadass, theologian, Director of the Catholic Research Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Executive Secretary of FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences) 
  • Radhar Panca Dahana, cultural observer, public intellectual will speak about cultural situation of contemporary Indonesia
    • Prof. Bambang Sugiharto, philosopher, Parahyangan Catholic University, will engage Radhar Panca Dahana on culture from the perspective of philosophy
  • Dr. B.Hari Juliawan, social scientist, of Sanata Dharma University, will speak about the map of Asian situation from the perspective of social science;
    • Prof Gerit Singgih, theologian from Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana, will respond to Hari Juliawan, identifying ways in which theology can respond to the reality of Asia.


Gedung Pascasarjana, Fakultas Teologi Universitas Sanata Dharma,  Jln. Kaliurang Km 7, Kentungan, Yogyakarta


First Day, Friday, 1 March 2019

09.00-09.30 Opening ceremony

09.30-12.00 Plenary Session 1 by Prof Felix Wilfred; respondents: Dr. Raymundus Sudiarsa SVD and Dr. Clarence Devadass

12.00-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-15.00 Sections: Paper Presentations (can be simultaneous in groups)

15.00-15.30 Break

15.30-17.00 Plenary Session 2 by Radar Panca Dahana; response by Prof Bambang Sugiharto

17.15-19.00 Paper Presentations

19.00-20.00 Dinner 

Second Day, Saturday, 2 March 2019

09.00 – 10.30 Plenary Session 3  by Dr. Hari Juliawan; response by Prof. Gerrit Singgih

10.30 – 11.00 Snack Break

11.00 – 13.00 Sections: Paper Presentations

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 15.00 Plenary discussion: identifying the fruits of the conference, future follow-ups and research and publication agenda

15.00 – 17.00 Business meetings of various associations (AFTI, AAFKI, AsTeKIa)

17.00 – 19.00 Social gathering and dinner

Call for Papers

The Committee invites interested scholars to participate in this Conference by presenting papers. The abstract or proposal of the paper (150-200 words) is to be submitted to the committee (e-mail  by February 20, 2019 at the latest. 

Possible Topics of papers:

  • religious identity and political populism
  • theology and indigenous culture and religion
  • citizenship: biblical perspective and contextual situation
  • religious experience
  • theology and contemporary glocal pop culture 
  • theology in distress: disasters, suffering and lamentation
  • indigenous spirituality
  • engagement with traditional texts