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Expert on religion and politics in Russia to present lecture at Whitworth March 11

February 24, 2010

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Although the Cold War ended two decades ago, the United States' relationship with Russia remains complex, and Americans still have much to learn about life in a land long cloaked by the Iron Curtain. Christopher Marsh, Ph.D., an expert on religion and politics in the world's largest country, will present the second lecture in the 53rd annual Great Decisions Lecture Series at Whitworth University. The series features five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community. The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge. Marsh will present "Russia and the 'Near Abroad'" on Thursday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

Marsh is director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies and a professor of political science and church-state studies at Baylor University. His expertise centers on religion and politics in Eurasia, with a particular focus on Russia and China. His interests include religion and ethnic conflict, religious liberty in transition societies, and the dialogue between the sociology of religion and the field of church-state studies. He has written or edited eight books, including Orthodoxy, Islam, and Church-State Relations in Russia, and he has written a variety of articles in publications such as Religion, State & Society; Nationalism and Ethnic Politics; Society; and Journal of Church and State. His lecture at Whitworth will draw from the content of his forthcoming book about Russia and the "near abroad," which is a term that refers to the non-Russian countries that once were part of the USSR.

"Dr. Marsh is a world-class scholar who understands that the countries of the Eurasia region are interdependent and that important forces such as culture and religion play a profound role in their politics," says Andrew Hogue, an assistant professor of political science at Whitworth who studied under Marsh at Baylor. "I can attest firsthand to his engaging style and piercing insight, and we're looking forward to learning more about his research on this extremely significant region."

In addition to the March 11 lecture, Great Decisions lectures will take place on March 18, April 8, and April 22. The lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre. For information on upcoming lectures, please call (509) 777-3270. Great Decisions 2010 is sponsored by the Whitworth Political Science Department.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Barbara Brodrick, academic program assistant, political science department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3270 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or