By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named Tracey Rowland, an Australian theologian; Justin Farrell, a U.S. sociologist; and Tongdong Bai, a Chinese philosopher, to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
The Vatican announced the nominations June 5.
Rowland, who was born in Ipswich, Australia, in 1963, is professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Long recognized as a leading scholar specializing in the thought and writing of Joseph Ratzinger, who served as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013, Rowland won the prestigious Ratzinger Prize for theology in 2020. She also is recognized as a leading expert on the Second Vatican Council.
She has earned degrees in law and government from the University of Queensland; philosophy from the University of Melbourne; political philosophy, also from the University of Melbourne; and sacred theology from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University. She completed her doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University where she wrote about theology engaging with culture in the 20th century.
She was dean of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Melbourne from 2001 to 2017 and was appointed to the Vatican’s International Theological Commission in 2014.
Justin Farrell, who was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1983, is a professor of sociology at Yale University’s School of the Environment. He completed his doctorate degree in sociology at the University of Notre Dame.
He specializes in “American culture with a focus on social class, moral conflict, epistemology, and the environment,” according to his personal website. He also carries out “ethnographic fieldwork in rural communities with large-scale computational techniques from network science and machine learning.”
He has published numerous books and articles; his latest research article appeared in the academic journal “Science” looking at the “effects of land dispossession and forced migration on Indigenous peoples in North America.”
Tongdong Bai, who was born in Beijing in 1970, is the Dongfang Chair professor of philosophy at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and a global professor of law at New York University’s Law School.
He has degrees in nuclear physics and the philosophy of science from Beijing University and he completed his doctorate degree in philosophy from Boston University. He taught philosophy at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He specializes in Chinese philosophy and political philosophy, especially traditional Chinese political philosophy.