Loyola University Chicago

Department of Sociology


Rhys H. Williams, PhD

Title/s: Professor
Director-McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion

Specialty Area: Sociology of Religion, Social Movements, Culture

Office #: Coffey 431

Phone: 773.508.3459

E-mail: rwilliams7@luc.edu


Curriculum Vitae

Professor Williams arrived at Loyola in 2009 from the University of Cincinnati, where he had taught in the Department of Sociology since 2001. From 1989 to 2001 he taught in the Sociology Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and did post-doctoral research at Yale University’s Program on Non-Profit Organizations from 1992–94. His research has focused on the intersection of politics, religion, and social movements in American culture. He has also studied the involvement of religious groups in urban politics, as well as the ways in which urban settings affect religion and its public roles.

Professor Williams’ current research examines these themes in two different projects. One is a study of the involvement of religious groups in progressive political causes—with two collaborators he is editing a collection of essays called Progressive Religion and Social Activism (to be published by New York University Press). The second is an examination of the public attitudes and political language about immigration and immigrants in contemporary American politics, and how they use images of national identity. Professor Williams teaches both graduate and undergraduate classes in religion and society, religion in American politics, and sociological theory.


PhD, Sociology,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1988

MA, Sociology,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1985

BA, 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.

Selected Publications

2016. Reed, Jean-Pierre, Rhys H. Williams, Kathryn B. Ward. “Civil Religious Contention in Cairo, Illinois:  Priestly and Prophetic Ideologies in a ‘Northern’ Civil Rights Struggle.” Theory & Society  45: 25-55.

2015, Williams, Rhys H. “Religion and Multiculturalism: A Web of Legal, Institutional, and Cultural Connections.” The Sociological Quarterly (Online published April 7, 2015. DOI: 10.1111/tsq.12094).

2015, Timberlake, Jeffery M., Junia Howell, Amy Baumann-Grau, and Rhys H. Williams. "Who "They" Are Matters: Immigrant Stereotypes and Assessments of the Impact of Immigration." The Sociological Quarterly 56 (2): 267–299.

2014, Williams, Rhys H. and Todd Nicholas Fuist. “Civil Religion and National Politics in a Neoliberal Era.” Sociology Compass 8 (7): 929–938. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12187

2014, Williams, Rhys H. “Public Islam in the Contemporary World: A View on the American Case.” Nordic Journal of Islamic Studies 8 (1): 56–77.

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 (2): 239–257.

2012, Timberlake, Jeffery M. and Rhys H. Williams. “Stereotypes of Immigrants from Four Global Regions.” Social Science Quarterly 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 42 (3): 322–346.

2011, Williams, Rhys H. “Creating an American Islam: Thoughts on Religion, Identity, and Place.” Sociology of Religion 72 (2): 127–153.

2009, Williams, Rhys H. “Politicized Evangelicalism and Secular Elites: Creating a ‘Moral Other.’” Pp. 143–79 in Evangelicals and Democracy in America, Volume II: Religion and Politics, Steven Brint and Jean Reith Schroedel, eds. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation).

2007, Williams, Rhys H. and Gira Vashi. “Hijab and American Muslim Women: Creating the Space for Autonomous Selves.” Sociology of Religion 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 612: 42–61.

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. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press).