John W. Williams

Professor of Political Science
Department Chair
JD, The George Washington University
BA, Principia College

John Williams was appointed to the faculty in 1983. Currently in his second term as chair of the Political Science department, Williams has also served as chair of the Mass Communication department and head of the Social Sciences unit. In addition, Williams is co-director of Asian Studies as well as an adjunct professor of international relations at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, teaching courses in Chinese and Indian politics. He recently completed a third tenure as president of the Faculty Senate.

Before coming to Principia, Williams spent five years with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and maintained a solo civil law practice in northern Virginia for several years. He also has three years experience as a correspondent for The (Alton, IL) Telegraph and is author of Guide to International Legal Research (Butterworth Legal Publishers, 1990) and editor of Career Preparation and Opportunities in International Law (American Bar Association, second edition, 1984).

In 1988, Professor Williams received the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award. In 2013, Prof. Williams was the first recipient of the College’s Harper Award for Teaching Excellence. He was also recognized the same year for teaching excellence by the American Political Science Association.

At Principia, Williams has directed adult or undergraduate and adult study trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, China, (including Tibet and Xinjiang), India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Washington, D.C. He has lectured at universities in China, India, and Kazakhstan. His deep interest in Asia began in childhood when he lived in India and Thailand due to his father’s career as a military officer and diplomat. His subsequent travels throughout Asia have taken him to Malaysia, Laos, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Cambodia, and South Korea. Prof. Williams’ professional travels have not been limited to Asia; he has travelled professionally to Russia, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, and Ireland. He recently returned from field research in Cuba.

Williams’ many professional writings have appeared in publications including PS (American Political Science Association), Journal of Political Science Education, The Security Journal, The Turkish Journal of Police Studies, and The International Communications Bulletin. His ongoing research project on the lives of African Americans in Jersey County—the county in which Principia College is located—has been published in a series of articles in the Jersey County Journal. He has presented his research at the annual Illinois State History conference.

Williams is president of the Great Rivers Land Trust, a director of the Jim and Aune Nelson Foundation, past president (two terms) of the Illinois Political Science Association, and a member of the board of the American Center for Mongolian Studies.

Professor Williams is a member of:

  • Virginia State Bar Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • Midwest Political Science Association
  • Illinois Political Science Association (past president)
  • International Studies Association
  • Midwest International Studies Association
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (including Teaching Chair for the International Communication Division)
  • Historic Elsah Foundation (past president)