Cristina Traina Professor of Religion, Department of Religious Studies

Cristina L. H. Traina is a student of Christian theology and ethics, with emphasis on Roman Catholic and feminist thought. She received her Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has been a member of the Department of Religious Studies since 1992. Areas of special interest include childhood, especially child labor; the ethics of touch in relations between unequals; sexuality and reproduction; ecology; justice issues in bioethics; economic and immigration justice; and method. Traina favors an interdisciplinary approach to ethics, drawing on research in philosophy, anthropology, psychology, history, and other fields. Many of her graduate advisees combine ethnographic methods with ethics.

She is the author of Natural Law and Feminist Ethics: the End of the Anathemas (Georgetown 1999) and Erotic Attunement: Parenthood and the Ethics of Sensuality between Unequals (University of Chicago Press, 2011). Her current work focuses on the Christian ethics of non-nuclear families and the moral agency, economic rights, and labor rights of children.

Professor Traina regularly teaches the following courses:

  • Christian Ethics
  • Introduction to Christianity
  • Catholic Social Ethics
  • Post-Vatican II Catholic Theology
  • Christian Thought in Global Perspective

In any given year she also offers courses on religious visions of maternity, fertility, or childhood; the senior thesis seminar; or graduate seminars.

She has served as a board member and President (2016) of the Society of Christian Ethics and has received the Weinberg College Teaching Award. She is one of the Northwestern University Public Voices fellows.

Selected Works


Erotic Attunement: Parenthood and the Ethics of Sensuality between Unequals (University of Chicago Press, 2011).

Feminist Ethics and Natural Law: The End of the Anathemas(Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1999).

The Sensual Mother: Maternal Experience and the Boundaries of Sexual Ethics (working title; University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2010).


“Facing Forward: Feminist Analysis of Care and Agency on a Global Scale.” In Distant Markets,

Distant Harms: Economic Complicity and Christian Ethics, 173-201. Edited by Daniel Finn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Commodifying Sex: A View from the Margins.” Concilium 2014 no. 4: 44-52.

“Children’s Situated Right to Work.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 31 no. 2 (2011):


“The Johnson Case and the Practice of Theology: An Interim Report” (contributor). Horizons:

Journal of the College Theology Society 38 no. 2 (2011): 284-337, at 286-292.

“The Missing Link: Domestic Violence and Accountable Communities,” INTAMS Review:

Journal for the Study of Marriage and Spirituality 17 no. 2 (2011): 129-137.

“Ovarian Tissue Preservation and Bioethical Discourse.” In Oncofertility: Reflections from

the Humanities and Social Sciences, edited by Teresa K Woodruff, Laurie Zoloth, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, and Sarah Rodriguez, 173-180. n.p.: Springer, 2010.

“For the Sins of the Parents: Roman Catholic Ethics and the Politics of Family.” In Prophetic Witness -- Catholic Women's Strategies for Reform, ed. Colleen Griffith, The Church in the 21st Century Center (New York: Crossroad, 2009), 114-122.

“Children and Moral Agency.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 29 no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2009): 19-37.

“Compatible Contradictions: Religion and the Naturalization of Assisted Reproduction.” Chair, with Eugenia Georges, Marcia Inhorn, Susan Kahn, and Maura Ryan. In Altering Nature, Volume II: Religion, Biotechnology, and Public Policy, ed. B. Andrew Lustig, Baruch A. Brody, and Gerald P. McKenny. Philosophy and Medicine 98. [n.p.]: Springer, 2008, 15-85.

“Popular Catholic Sexual Ethics.” In Twentieth-Century Global Christianity, ed. Mary Farrell Bednarowski. A People’s History of Christianity, vol. 7, ed. Dennis R. Janz. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008.

Curriculum Vitae