Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whitworth Lindaman Chair Julia Stronks to present March 28 lecture, "If a Calvinist had Coffee with a Feminist"


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On the heels of theologian John Calvin's 500th birthday and renewed interest in his teachings, Whitworth Political Science Professor Julia Stronks will present her first Lindaman Chair lecture, "If a Calvinist had Coffee with a Feminist," on Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-4937.

Time Magazine has called the "new Calvinism" one of the 10 most influential areas of thought affecting the world currently, and feminism continues to influence our culture. During her lecture, Stronks will demonstrate common ground between these two seemingly incongruous perspectives by focusing on public policy issues that are important to both of them. She says that Calvinist theology provides an intellectual way to think about the role of government and other institutions in society, while feminism highlights injustices of which many Christians are unaware.

"I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church, which means that for me the teachings of scripture were framed through the lens of John Calvin's perspective," Stronks says. "But, I am also a woman who has benefited from the work of feminists and I am indebted to them for making room for me to engage in my own calling as a scholar."

Stronks continues, "On the face of things, Calvinism and feminism have little in common, but I think when we look more deeply at both perspectives we can see there are ways in which they can work together. They have much to learn from each other when we are thinking about difficult policy areas."

Stronks' research focuses on faith, law and public policy. During her four-year tenure as Lindaman Chair, she will be working on several projects related to immigration; sex trafficking; high school curriculum that emphasizes citizenship and life-long learning; employment rights of faith-based institutions; and what it means to be a Christian lawyer. A number of students are working with Stronks on these projects.

Stronks, who is in her 18th year at Whitworth, has served as director for the Murdock Charitable Trust's $1 million grant for the Lives of Commitment Project since 2001. She is a regular contributor of op-ed pieces to local and national media outlets, in which she analyzes national and regional legal questions and issues. She also is author of the forthcoming book So You Want to Be a Christian Lawyer, and author of the book Law, Religion and Public Policy: A Commentary on First Amendment Jurisprudence (2002). She is co-author (with her mother, Gloria Goris Stronks, a professor emeritus at Calvin College), of Christian Teachers in Public Schools: A Guide for Parents, Teachers and Administrators (2000). In addition, she and her mother wrote an e-book, Living in the Fabric of God's Faithfulness: Parents and Children Explain What Works, which is available at www.whitworth.edu/fabricoffaithfulness.

A graduate of Dordt College, Stronks earned her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. In 2003, she was honored with Dordt College's Distinguished Alumni Award.

The annual Lindaman Lecture is held each spring and features Whitworth's appointed Edward B. Lindaman Chair. The position is an endowed, rotating chair for senior Whitworth faculty who are engaged in significant regional and national academic initiatives and who contribute to public dialogue concerning important social issues.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Julia Stronks, Edward B. Lindaman Chair and professor of political science, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4577 or jstronks@whitworth.edu.

Julie Shanholtzer, program assistant, Speakers and Artists Series and psychology department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4263 or jshanholtzer@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.