Rhys H. Williams, PhD
Department Chair Director-McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion
Specialty Area: Sociology of Religion, Social Movements, Culture
Office #: Coffey 421
CV Link: CV_Williams_Rhys
Professor Williams arrived at Loyola in 2009. 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 three different projects. One is a study of the involvement of religious groups in progressive political causes – with two collaborators he recently published Religion and Progressive Activism: New Stories about Faith and Politics (New York University Press, 2017). Another research focuses on race and religion in the United States; in this regard he recently published (with Jessica M. Barron) The Urban Church Imagined: Religion, Race, and Authenticity in the City (New York University Press, 2017). Finally, he is involved in research that analyzes public attitudes and political language about immigration and immigrants in contemporary American politics, and how non-Christian immigrant groups respond.
Professor Williams teaches both graduate and undergraduate classes in religion and society, religion in American politics, sociology of culture, and sociological theory.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1988
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. He was elected to the Executive Council of the American Sociological Association, his term runs from 2017 to 2020.
Selected Recent Publications
Jessica M. Barron and Rhys H. Williams. The Urban Church Imagined: Religion, Race, and Authenticity in the City. (New York University Press, 2017).
Ruth Braunstein, Todd Nicholas Fuist, and Rhys H. Williams, editors. Religion and Progressive Activism: New Stories about Faith and Politics. (New York University Press, 2017).
Todd Nicholas Fuist and Rhys H. Williams. “’Let’s Call Ourselves the Super Elite’: Using the Collective Behavior Tradition to Analyze Trump’s America." Sociological Forum (December 2019) 34 (S1): 1132-1152.
Rhys H. Williams, Courtney Ann Irby, and R. Stephen Warner, “’Dare to be Different: How Religious Groups Frame and Enact Appropriate Sexuality and Gender Norms among Young Adults.” Sociological Studies of Children and Youth (2018) 23: 1-22..
Rhys H. Williams, Courtney Ann Irby, and R. Stephen Warner. “’Church’ in Black and White: The Organizational Lives of Young Adults.” Religions 7, (7 [July 2016]) 90; (DOI:10.3390/rel7070090).
Jean-Pierre Reed, Rhys H. Williams, Kathryn B. Ward. “Civil Religious Contention in Cairo, Illinois: Priestly and Prophetic Ideologies in a ‘Northern’ Civil Rights Struggle.” Theory & Society (February 2016) 45: 25-55.
Rhys H. Williams, “Religion and Multiculturalism: A Web of Legal, Institutional, and Cultural Connections.” The Sociological Quarterly (Fall 2015) 56: 607-622.
Jeffery M. Timberlake, 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 (Spring 2015) 56: 267-299.
Rhys H. Williams, “Civil Religion and the Cultural Politics of National Identity in Obama’s America.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2013) 52: 239-257.
Jeffery M. Timberlake, and Rhys H. Williams. “Stereotypes of Immigrants from Four Global Regions.” Social Science Quarterly (2012) 93: 867-890.
Rhys H. Williams, “Creating an American Islam: Thoughts on Religion, Identity, and Place.” Sociology of Religion (2011) 72: 127-153.
Rhys H. Williams and Gira Vashi. “Hijab and American Muslim Women: Creating the Space for Autonomous Selves.” Sociology of Religion (Autumn 2007) 68 (3): 269-287.