Theology and Philosophy

Keynote Speakers

Professor Asma Afsaruddin - Indiana University, USA

Asma Afsaruddin is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.  She received her PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Johns Hopkins University and previously taught at Harvard and Notre Dame universities.  Professor Afsaruddin is the author and editor of seven books, including Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015); Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought  (Oxford University Press, 2013) which won a World Book Award from the Iranian government in 2015 and was a runner-up for the 2014 British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book Prize; and The First Muslims: History and Memory (OneWorld Publications 2008), which was recently translated into Turkish.  She has also written over fifty research articles and book chapters on various aspects of Islamic thought and lectures widely in the US, Europe, and the Middle East.  Afsaruddin is currently a member of the academic council of the Prince al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion and serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington DC.  She was previously the Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary and was a fellow at the American Research Center in Cairo, Egypt and at the American Research Institute in Istanbul, Turkey.  She has served on numerous editorial boards and as a consultant for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and other non-governmental and governmental agencies.  Her research has been funded by grants awarded, among others, by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which named her a Carnegie Scholar in 2005.
"Is Islam incompatible with modernity?" (The Conversation)


Professor Anne Aly- Edith Cowan University, Western Australia

Professorial Research Fellow, Edith Cowan University, author of Terrorism and Global Security: Historical and contemporary perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan), and project investigator for ‘Counter Narratives to Interrupt Online Radicalisation Project’ (2014-2015); ‘Collective resistance to terrorism: Constructions of the Bali Peace Park as counter-terrorism’ (2013- 2016); ‘Tweeting for God: A Study of Australian Jihadist Twitter Activity and Their Influence’ (2014-2016); and ‘Brothers, Believers, Brave Mujahideen: Focus on the Audience of Violent Jihadist Preachers’ (Ongoing).


Rev Dr Sarah Bachelard - Australian Catholic University, Canberra

Anglican priest and theologian, and a leader in the World Community for Christian Meditation; Research Fellow at ACU; and founding pastor of Benedictus, an Ecumenical contemplative church in Canberra. Before ordination, Sarah (who is a Rhodes Scholar) worked as a Research Officer at the Australian Senate. She has lectured internationally in theology, spirituality and ethics, and is the author of Experiencing God in a Time of Crisis (Convivium, 2012) and Resurrection and Moral Imagination (Ashgate 2014).


Professor Greg Barton - Deakin University, Melbourne

Chair in Global Islamic Politics, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University; Co-Leader, Australian Intervention Support Hub (AISH); Deputy UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific; and co-editor of the journal Islam and Christian Muslim Relations.


Reverend Professor Frank Brennan SJ - Australian Catholic University, Canberra

Professor of law at Australian Catholic University, and Adjunct Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (Charles Sturt University), the Australian National University (ANU) College of Law and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (ANU). He is author of numerous books, including No Small Change: The Road to Recognition for Indigenous Australia (University of Queensland Press, 2015). The Australian National Trust has classified Frank, who is a Jesuit priest, as a Living National Treasure. He will be a panelist on the “Religion and Violence in Australia-Indigenous History” session.


Associate Professor Kathleen Butler - University of Newcastle

Assoc. Prof. Kathleen Butler, University of Newcastle, is an Aboriginal woman, belonging to the Bundjalung and Worimi peoples of coastal New South Wales. She is Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology at the The Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle, NSW. She will be a panelist in the 'Religion and Violence in Australia-Indigenous History' session.


Professor William T. Cavanaugh - De Paul University, Chicago

“The Myth of Religious Violence”

Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, De Paul University (Chicago). He is co-editor of one of the leading theology journals, Modern Theology, and author of numerous articles and books, including The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2009), Theopolitical Imagination (T&T Clark, 2002) and Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ (Blackwell, 1998).


Professor Jean-Pierre Dupuy - École Polytechnique, Paris / Stanford University, California

Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the École Polytechnique, Paris, and Professor of French and Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science at Stanford University. He is author of numerous major works, including The Mark of the Sacred (Stanford University Press, 2013), On the Origins of Cognitive Science: the Mechanization of the Mind (MIT Press, 2009), Economy and the Future (Michigan State University Press, 2014), A Short Treatise on the Metaphysics of Tsunamis (Michigan State University Press, 2015) and La Panique (Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 2003).


Dr Chris Fleming - University of Western Sydney, NSW

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy in the School of Humanities and Languages and Founding Vice President of the Australian Girard Seminar. He is the author of René Girard: Violence and Mimesis (Polity, 2004) and Modern Conspiracy: The Importance of Being Paranoid (Bloomsbury, 2014, co-authored with Emma A. Jane) and co-editor of the book series, Violence, Desire, and the Sacred (Bloomsbury). He is on the editorial boards of several international journals.


Most Rev Dr Philip Freier - Archbishop of Melbourne

Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia; formerly Bishop of the Northern Territory. Prior to ordination as a priest in 1984 he taught in remote indigenous communities in North Queensland and was an advisory teacher in Aboriginal education. His doctorate addressed the history of Aboriginal Missions. He will be a panelist on the “Religion and Violence in Australia-Indigenous History” session.


Professor Wolfgang Palaver - University of Innsbruck, Austria

Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology at the University of Innsbruck and former President of COV&R. He is author of René Girard’s Mimetic Theory (Michigan State University Press, 2013), along with numerous articles, chapters and books, especially in the area of political theology.


Ms Naomi Wolfe - Australian Catholic University, Melbourne

Ms Naomi Wolfe is an Aboriginal Academic and Lecturer in the National School of Arts, Australian Catholic University. She will be a panelist in the 'Religion and Violence in Australia-Indigenous History' session.