Susie Babka, PhD

Susie Babka
Phone: (619) 260-2754
Office: Maher Hall 258

Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
  • M.A., University of Notre Dame
  • M.T.S., Duke University Divinity School
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame, Theology
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame, The Program of Liberal Studies

Susie Paulik Babka specializes in the relationship between theological aesthetics and doctrines of the trinity and incarnation. She has published on these areas as well as explorations of popular culture and Christology, examining the meaning of kenosis in Christology, as well as the relationship between kenosis (self-emptying) and sunyata in Buddhist-Christian studies. A forthcoming monograph is Through the Dark Field of the Other: Exploring the Doctrine of the Incarnation in Visual Art, from Liturgical Press. Other research, teaching and speaking areas include: aesthetics as a medium for interreligious dialogue; the problem of catastrophic suffering; feminist and liberation theologies, especially in relation to artistic expression; film and media studies and religion; the relation between science and religion. Dr. Babka has taught at the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Theological Union before coming to the University of San Diego in 2007, excited to participate in Mother Hill’s legacy of providing USD with a mission that intertwines Beauty with Justice. Where Beauty draws us out of ourselves toward something deeper, Justice refers to the practical work of transforming this world into the world intended by God: a world that celebrates the dignity and inherent interdependence of every human being with each other and all creation.

Scholarly Work

Through the Dark Field of the Other: Exploring the Doctrine of the Incarnation Through Visual Art, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press), forthcoming 2015

“The Trinity in the Gnadenstuhl Motif: Illustrating the Cross as Event of the Triune God” in God’s Grandeur: the Arts and Imagination in Theology, ed. David Robinson (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007), pp 17-37.
“Arius, Superman and the Tertium Quid: When Mythology of Popular Culture Meets Christology” in the Irish Theological Quarterly 73/1 (2008), pp 113-132.
“The Feminine Face of God Is My Face: On the Empowerment of Female Self-Portraiture” in She Who Imagines: Feminist Theological Aesthetics, edited by Maureen O’Connell and Laurie Cassidy (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012) pp 205-224.
“Art as Witness to Sorrow: the Art of Käthe Kollwitz and the Theology of Dorothee Sölle” in Women, Wisdom, and Witness: Reflections from the New Voices Seminar, edited by Kathleen J. Dolphin, PBVM and Rosemary P. Carbine (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012) pp. 25-44.
“Emptiness and Otherness: Negative Theology and the Language of Compassion” in Where We Dwell In Common: Pathways for Dialogue, ed. Gerard Mannion (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, forthcoming 2015).
“Sunyata, Otherness, and Communion: Applying Mutually Transformative Categories from Buddhist-Christian Dialogue in Christology,” Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal forthcoming 2015.

Book Reviews:
Review of Diana L. Hayes, Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made, for Horizons, Journal of the College Theology Society 39/1, Spring 2012.
Review of Thomas F. O’Meara, Vast Universe: Extraterrestrials and Christian Revelation, for Horizons, Journal of the College Theology Society
Review of Wendy M. Wright, The Lady of the Angels and Her City, for Horizons, Journal of the College Theology Society

Work in Progress:
Multiple Belonging and Visual Culture, book-length project proposed for a John R. Simon Guggenheim Foundation grant
Theology Through the Experience of Motherhood, ed. Susie Paulik Babka and Janice Thompson; will contribute the chapter “Maternity, Divine Identity and Lévinas’ Infinite Responsibility to the Other”
Visual Art and Theology, to be considered for Abingdon Press’ Horizons in Theology series

Areas of Interest

Christology; the doctrine of God (Trinity); the problem of catastrophic suffering; theological aesthetics and the connection between art and the sacred; feminist and liberation theologies; the Frankfurt School