Political Science
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PhotoJohn Yoder
Professor
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251
Phone: (509) 777-4432
johnyoder@whitworth.edu

Office Location: Weyerhaeuser Hall Suite 210J

Education: M. Div., Mennonite Seminary (1970); Ph.D., Northwestern University (1977).

A political scientist with an emphasis on Africa, John Yoder grew up in rural Iowa where he attended a one-room country school. Since then he has studied, conducted research, and taught in Europe and Africa. At Whitworth, Dr. Yoder offers courses on Africa, the Third World, peace studies, and political philosophy. John Yoder also has taught African studies at the University of Liberia and Cuttington University in Liberia (1987-88) and at Daystar University in Kenya (1998). He spent the summer of 2001 in Kenya teaching conflict resolution and organizing a peace-building conference in a rural Rift Valley region that had experienced significant ethnic violence.

Among the awards he has received are grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Pew Foundation. Professor Yoder has published scholarly articles on Congo, Dahomey, Liberia, Uganda, and colonial America. He has also written a series of entries on pacifism, patron-client systems, and totalitarianism for the reference work, Political Theories for Students and articles on Liberia and the Congo for the Encyclopedia of African History. His reviews of books about forced labor in West Africa, the ancient political contributions of the pygmies, the civil war in Liberia, mythology in Buganda, Christianity and democratization in Africa, pre-colonial history in the Congo, the slave trade, and violence in South Africa, have appeared in Africa, African Economic History, The Historian, The American Historical Review, International Journal of African Historical Studies, The Journal of Modern African Studies, and Christian Scholar’s Review.

John Yoder edited the Zaire volume of the Dictionary of African Biography (1979). In 1992, Cambridge University Press published The Kanyok of Zaire, a book on pre-colonia African political and intellectual history. In 2003, he published Popular Political Culture, Civil Society, and State Crisis in Liberia (Edwin Mellen Press). Currently, he is working with Liberian scholars and politicians committed to government reform in Liberia. John Yoder is also in the midst of an analysis comparing the Book of Judges to pre-industrial Africa. Besides teaching and writing, Dr. Yoder’s favorite activities are conducting research in Africa, leading study tours to Africa, analyzing pre-industrial political myths, and doing carpentry. In the summer of 2000, he built an entire house (actually a playhouse) for his granddaughter Nyomi.

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