Decolonizing Western Christianity for a Genuine Catholicity of Culture


  • Susan Abraham Pacific School of Religion



decolonization, postcolonial, globalization, theology of culture, identity politics, Catholicity, deconstruction, Robert Schreiter, Homi Bhabha, Kevin Hart


Does Robert Schreiter's proposal for a new catholicity secure a decolonized theology of culture? This essay discusses salient elements of Schreiter's theological proposals and suggests that postcolonial theologies of culture avoid the twin pitfalls of identity politics and erasure in the Western academic study of theology by employing the methods of deconstruction. Identity claims, knowledge claims, and theological claims are to be persistently critiqued for their tendency towards totalization. Only such a practice of deconstruction aiding an active spirituality can secure a decolonized theology of culture.

Author Biography

Susan Abraham, Pacific School of Religion

Susan Abraham is Professor of Theology and Postcolonial Cultures VP of Academic Affairs and Dean at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, USA.


Bhabha, H. 1994. The Location of Culture. Abingdon: Routledge.

Hart, K. 2000. The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology and Philosophy. New York, NY: Fordham University Press.

Hart, K. 1998. “Jacques Derrida, The God Effect.” In Post-Secular Philosophy: Between Theology and Philosophy, edited by Phillip Blond, 259–280. Abingdon: Routledge.

Schreiter, R. 1985. Constructing Local Theologies. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

———. 1998. The New Catholicity: Theology between the Global and the Local. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

Wiredu, K. 2006. “Toward Decolonizing African Philosophy and Religion.” In Inculturation and Postcolonial Discourse in African Theology, edited by Edward P. Antonio, 291–329. Bern: Peter Lang.



How to Cite

Abraham, S. (2019). Decolonizing Western Christianity for a Genuine Catholicity of Culture. Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, 3(1-2), 47–62.