Robert Williams

Robert Williams, M.A.
Office: Bates Hall 116

Joined Westfield State University in 2017

PhD Candidate, Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts.
Forthcoming Dissertation title: “‘Children of the Light’: The Role of Testimony, Witnessing, and Consensus Based Decision Making in the Evolution of the Moral Logic of Abolitionism within the Society of Friends, 1660 – 1758”

MA, Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (2017)

Graduate Certificate, Dark Age Scotland, St. Andrews University, UK. (2001)

BA, Medieval History, St. Andrews University, UK.  (2000)

Courses Taught:
HIST101 – Western Experience I
HIST132 – US History Since 1865

Research Interests:
The history of early anti-slavery thought and practice; specifically looking at the development of anti-slavery ideology within the Quaker meetings of the 17th and early 18th century.

Scholarship/Selected Publications:
“Meeting Culture, Testimony, and the Development of Quaker Abolitionism,” Annual Conference of Quaker Archivists and Historians, June 2016

Special Interests:
Social and Political Activism, Theater, Craft Beer, Hiking, Camping, and Fishing.

Teaching Philosophy:
The consumption of history by passive students without proper contextualization and interrogation will ultimately be a failed endeavor.  Knowledge gained passively is quickly forgotten by most people as new and more prioritized knowledge competes for memory space. Therefore, the most important thing for a teacher to do is to connect my students to the subject they are studying through a process of investigation that employs their interests and goals. These grounds the topic in the students lived experience and helps them to prioritize what they have learned. Students are approaching history with a variety of interests (socio-economic, academic, and personal) that are an essential component of their identity. I seek to utilize these interests as a conduit to connect students to the material.