Small, discussion-based classes are the heart of a CHC education. On the first day of class, I tell all of my students that they may not remember every lesson learned in a given term, but they will remember the community we created together. I facilitate this community by asking students to think about class as a conversation in which speakers and listeners matter equally. Accordingly, I require students to learn their classmates’ names and call on one another during discussions. While perhaps intimidating at first, this signature pedagogy of my classes is one that students consistently praise and appreciate.
Ph.D., History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010
M.A., History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005
B.A., History (magna cum laude), Wake Forest University, 2003
Before joining the Clark Honors College in 2014, professor Williams taught at the University of Northern Iowa and Appalachian State University, and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Institute for Southern Studies at University of South Carolina. He was also a recipient of the nationally competitive Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, offered annually by the Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education.
Williams currently sits on the university's Phi Beta Kappa Executive Committee, and maintains membership in a number of professional organizations, including the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for civil War Historians, and the Southern Historical Association.
Research Interests & Current Projects
Professor Williams works in the fields of intellectual and cultural history, focusing particularly on the nineteenth-century United States and the American South. He is currently working on two new research projects: an edited collection of the writings of a Civil War prisoner of war and his fiancée, and the manuscript for his next book, The Confederate Diaspora: Intellectual Life in the Confederacy & Postwar South. Both projects seek to understand relationships among intellectual life, region, and national identity in American history, as well as the effects of the Civil War on the history of ideas in the United States.
Awards, Fellowships & Grants
- 2015: Archie K. Davis Fellowship, The North Caroliniana Society
- 2014: Research Grant, The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, Virginia Tech
- 2011: M. E. Bradford Dissertation Prize, St. George Tucker Society
- 2010: Research Fellowship, Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina
- 2010: Impact Award, Graduate Education Advancement Board, University of North Carolina
For a complete publication list see Professor Williams' Curriculum Vitae.
- 2015, Intellectual Manhood: University, Self & Society in the Antebellum South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press).
Book Chapters and Articles
- 2017, "Pursuits of Character: Rethinking Honor among Antebellum Southern Collegians," The Field of Honor: Essays on Southern Character & American Identity (edited by John Mayfield and Todd Hagstette), University of South Carolina Press.
- 2008, "Confronting a 'Wilderness of Sin': Student Writing, Sex, and Manhood in the Antebellum South," Perspectives on the History of Higher Education, Vol. 27: 1-30.