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Dialogue Seminar between Arts and Social Sciences: What does it mean to live in time? The implicit moral anthropology of UK energy markets and the value of interdisciplinary perspectives

08 Feb 2023
Seminar and ColloquiumM.A. in Ethics and Public AffairsCentre for Sino-Christian Studies
event poster
08 Feb 2023
Face to face at SWT 702 + Zoom Meeting ID: 926 6526 3480, PW: 850978
Dr. Helen Dawes, the Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge


Dr. Helen Dawes is the Principal of Westcott House. In the Cambridge Theological Federation, Helen chairs the Resources Committee and serves as a member of the Cambridge, Durham and Anglia Ruskin Academic Oversight Groups.


She was Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs to Archbishop Rowan Williams and then Social and Public Affairs Adviser to Archbishop Justin Welby. Helen studied for her PhD at King’s College London and her academic work focuses on the intersection of theology with economic life and public policy. She has wide-ranging interests in Christian engagement in the public square. Prior to ordination, Helen worked in strategic and regulatory consulting.


In this seminar I will explore the ability of theology to contribute to conversations we might initially think belong more properly to the social sciences. I will suggest this contribution can be framed more helpfully by considering the quality of questions theological interrogation can enable us to pose, rather than by expecting or claiming that a theological perspective can offer unique answers. I will illustrate this using a case study taken from my own context—the economic structure of UK energy supply markets—and examining the assumptions it makes about the nature of the human person. In doing so I hope I will illustrate how Christian ethics as a discipline can ask questions about the implicit moral anthropology of our economic contexts that make new interdisciplinary perspectives possible, not least by prompting theologians to re-examine the resources of our own tradition. I will illustrate this by giving some attention to a theological understanding of what it means for the human person to live in time, prompted by—and intended to interrogate—the economic case study I have set out. In conclusion I will draw that theological account back to the engaged questions of the role of markets in society, to consider how engaged and interdisciplinary theological study can be part of a wider conversation of the good of human communities.



  • Prof. Alistair Cole, Professor, Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Dr. Levi Mahonri Checketts, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Hong Kong Baptist University