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Dr. Peter Meilaender Named 2020-2021 Visiting Professor

Dr. Peter Meilaender, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Houghton College (NY), has been named the 2020–2021 Visiting Professor for AEI’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life.

In this position, which rotates annually (and has previously been held by Dr. Paul MillerDr. Elizabeth CoreyProf. Brian BrenbergDr. Stephen Smith, and Dr. Gregory Thornbury), Dr. Meilaender will collaborate with the initiative in a number of ways, with a particular focus on issues of nationalism, patriotism, and cosmopolitanism; shifting electoral alignments along national-populist lines in the United States (and across Western democracies); and appropriate Christian perspectives on—and responses to—these phenomena. Dr. Meilaender writes:

“I am particularly interested in how Christianity offers a vision that is at once appreciative of particular loyalties, such as those to one’s own country and its culture, but also open to and interested in the kingdom of God in all its diversity and richness, including the flourishing of other countries and cultures.”

Among other activities, Dr. Meilaender will lead a series of virtual seminars on these timely themes, teach a course during AEI’s 2021 Summer Honors Program, and write an essay that proposes an appropriate Christian perspective toward the growing rift in our polity along national-populist lines.

In his role at Houghton, Dr. Meilaender teaches a wide range of courses in political theory, American politics, public law, international relations, and German Studies, and he is a regular contributor to the college’s interdisciplinary humanities honors program. In 2015, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Christian Thought at Biola University. He is the author of Toward a Theory of Immigration (Palgrave, 2001), which discusses ethical questions arising from immigration policy debates.

Dr. Meilaender’s current research focuses on politics and German-language literature, especially literature from Switzerland and Austria. He is completing a manuscript on the political thought of the 19th-century Swiss pastor and author Jeremias Gotthelf, in support of which he has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Earhart Foundation. His essays on public affairs have appeared in magazines such as The Cresset, First Things, The City, and Christian Reflection, as well as in several essay compilations for the Initiative on Faith & Public Life: A World without Work? (2016), The University at a Crossroads (2018), and Visions for Christian Public Life (2020).

In a tumultuous moment in American politics and society, Dr. Meilaender is uniquely equipped to support the initiative’s mission of preparing young people for faithful engagement in public life. We are delighted to collaborate with him in the year ahead.