Rhys H. Williams, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Director-McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion
Specialty Area: Sociology of Religion, Social Movements, Culture
Office #: Coffey Hall 423
Professor Williams arrived at Loyola in 2009 from the University of Cincinnati, where he had been professor and department head since 2001. From 1989 to 2001 he taught in the Sociology Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His research has focused on the intersection of politics, religion, and social movements in American culture. He has studied the involvement of religious groups in urban politics, as well as the role of religion in both progressive and conservative social movements.
Professor Williams has two current research projects in progress. One is a study of young adults' involvement with religious organizations, and the development of personal, social, and religious identity. He has been comparing young adult groups in white and black churches, and the involvement of second generation Muslim and Hindu immigrants in their religious institutions. The second is an examination of the public attitudes and political language about immigration and immigrants in contemporary American politics. Professor Williams teaches both graduate and undergraduate classes in religion and society, religion in American politics, and sociological theory.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1988
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1985
B.A., Sociology/Political Science,
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1979
Professional & Community Affiliations
Professor Williams was co-editor of the journal Social Problems from 1996-99 and the editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion from 2003-08. He was President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in 2010 and was President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in 2012.
Forthcoming Timberlake, Jeffery M., Amy Baumann-Grau, Junia Howell and Rhys H. Williams. “Who "They" Are Matters: Immigrant Stereotypes and Assessments of the Impact of Immigration." The Sociology Quarterly
Forthcoming Williams, Rhys H. “Public Islam in the Contemporary World: A View on the American Case.” Studies in Contemporary Islam / Nordic Journal of Islamic Studies/Tidskrift for islamforskning (co-publication, Spring 2013)
2013 Williams, Rhys H. “Civil Religion and the Cultural Politics of National Identity in Obama’s America.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52 (June) 2: 239-257.
2013 Williams, Rhys H. and Thomas J. Josephsohn. “North American Sociology of Religion: Critique and Prospects.” Critical Research on Religion (April) 1 (1): 62-71.
2012 Timberlake, Jeffery M. and Rhys H. Williams. “Stereotypes of Immigrants from Four Global Regions.” Social Science Quarterly (December) 93 (4): 867-890.
2012 Williams, Rhys H. “Immigration and National Identity in Obama’s America: The Expansion of 'Culture Wars' Politics.” Canadian Review of American Studies (December) 42 (3): 322-346.
2011 Williams, Rhys H. “Creating an American Islam: Thoughts on Religion, Identity, and Place.” Sociology of Religion (Summer) 72 (2): 127-153.
2011 Williams, Rhys H. “American National Identity, the Rise of the Modern City, and the Birth of Protestant Fundamentalism.” Pp. 77-98 in The Fundamentalist City? Religiosity and the Remaking of Urban Space, Nezar Al-Sayyd and Mejgan Massoumi, eds. (Routledge).
2009 Williams, Rhys H. “Politicized Evangelicalism and Secular Elites: Creating a ‘Moral Other.’” Pp. 105-127 in Evangelicals and American Democracy, Volume II: Religion and Politics, Steven Brint and Jean Reith Schroedel, eds. (Russell Sage Foundation).
2009 Williams, Rhys H. “Transnational Religion and the Shaping of Politics, Ethnicity, and Culture,” Review Essay, Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews (March) 38 (2): 129-133.
2007 Williams, Rhys H. and Gira Vashi “Hijab and American Muslim Women: Creating the Space for Autonomous Selves.” Sociology of Religion (Autumn) 68 (3): 269-287.
2007 Williams, Rhys H. “The Languages of the Public Sphere: Religious Pluralism, Institutional Logics, and Civil Society.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences (July) 612: 42-61.
2007 Nepstad, Sharon Erickson and Rhys H. Williams. “Religion in Rebellion, Resistance, and Social Change.” Pp. 419-37 in The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, James A. Beckford and N.J. Demerath III, eds. (Sage Publications).
2007 Williams, Rhys H. “Liberalism, Religion, and the Dilemma of ‘Immigrant Rights’ in American Political Culture.” Pp. 16-32 in Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, ed. (Rutgers University Press).