Political science prof presented research

Northwestern College political science professor Dr. Jeff VanDerWerff presented a paper at the Iowa Conference on Presidential Politics (ICPP) on Friday, Oct. 30, at Dordt College in Sioux Center.

VanDerWerff’s presentation, “A Political Theology for Engaging Democracy: Presidential Politics and Public Life,” explored how Christians should engage in democracy and political discourse.

“Faith is an extremely personal matter, but it should never be an entirely private one,” says VanDerWerff.  “In my presentation, I spoke about how followers of Jesus should behave when entering the public square.” VanDerWerff drew from the life and perspective of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the theological insights of N.T. Wright to frame a political theology for engaging democracy.

ICPP was a national, cross-disciplinary meeting of scholars focusing on presidential elections and power. Three distinguished historians and political scientists served as keynote speakers: Andrew Bacevich, Amy Black and Robert Johnson. Other presenters included scholars of political science, history, culture and applied theology. Two presidential candidates also attended the event: Lawrence Lessig and Rick Santorum.

A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 1999, VanDerWerff holds research interests in religion, politics and political theology. He is a member of both the American Political Science Association and Christians in Political Science.

A Northwestern graduate, VanDerWerff earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and a doctorate in American politics and public administration from the University of Kansas.