John Williams

John Williams


    Bradley Hall 336E
    (309) 677-3182


Ph.D., History, University of Michigan
M.A., History, University of Michigan
B.A., History and Film Studies, University of North Carolina


John Williams has taught modern European and German history at Bradley since 1997. He was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and raised in Cullowhee, North Carolina, by Max and Sarah Williams.


Recipient of Bradley University’s annual Charles M. Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009.

  • HIS 210: History of European Film
  • HIS 320 Renaissance and Reformation
  • HIS 321 Topics in European History: Europe, 1880-1945: Society, Culture, Politics
  • HIS 327 Topics in European Cultural History:
    • Popular Culture in Twentieth-Century Europe
    • European Culture since 1945
  • HIS 329 Germany, 1870-present
  • HIS 340 Twentieth-Century Europe 
  • HIS 342 Europe, 1789-1914
  • HIS 343 Ancient Greece and the Hellenistic World
  • HIS 350 Junior Seminar in Historical Methods
  • HIS 375 The Holocaust
  • HIS 382 Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Europe since 1500
  • HIS 451 Senior Research Seminar in European History. Topics:
    • Weimar and Nazi Germany
    • The First World War
    • History of European Film
    • Resistance in Twentieth-Century Europe
    • European Civilians in World War II
    • Postwar European Film in Historical Context
    • European Revolutions of 1989
    • Interwar Europe
    • Postwar European Youth Cultures
  • HON 101 Honors Seminar:
    • Cinematic Poetry
    • Recent Documentary Filmmaking
    • The Films of Robert Altman
    • Twenty-First Century Filmmaking
    • Women and Families in World Film
    • Recent American Filmmaking
    • Religion and Film
    • Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Recent World Film
    • 21st-Century World Filmmaking
    • European History on Film
    • The Horror Movie
    • LGBTQ Film
    • Comedy Movies
    • Existential Action Movies
    • Our Era of Uncertainty on Film
  • CIV 100, 101, 102, 111/112, and 113/114: Western Civilization, including combined Honors First Year Composition and Fine Arts.
  • MLS 610 Weimar Germany: Culture and Politics


  • Turning to Nature in Germany: Hiking, Nudism, and Conservation, 1900-1940. Stanford University Press, 2007.
  • As editor with Alexandra Hagen: Conflict and Survival in Western European Film since 2000: Studies of Narrative and Form in Historical Context. Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming 2022.
  • As editor: Weimar Culture Revisited: Studies in European Culture and History. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • As editor: Berlin Since the Wall’s End: Shaping Society and Memory in the German Metropolis since 1989. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008.
  • “Introduction” in John A. Williams and Alexandra Hagen, eds,. Conflict and Survival in Western European Film since 2000: Studies of Narrative and Form in Historical Context. Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming 2022.
  • “The Kindness of Men: Compassion in The Great Beauty and Weekend” in John A. Williams and Alexandra Hagen, eds., Conflict and Survival in Western European Film since 2000: Studies of Narrative and Form in Historical Context. Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming 2022.
  • “The Tourist Association ‘Friends of Nature’ and Working-Class Hiking in Interwar Germany, 1919-1935” in NaturFreundeGeschichte/NatureFriendsHistoryII:1, (October, 2014).
  • “Der Körper fordert seine Rechte: Nudismus in der Arbeiterbewegung, 1919-1935” in NaturFreundeGeschichte/NatureFriendsHistory (April, 2014) at
  • “Foreword” in Weimar Culture Revisited, ed. John A. Williams (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), ix-xxiv.
  • “Friends of Nature: The Culture of Working-Class Hiking” in Weimar Culture Revisited, ed. John A. Williams (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 199-225.
  • “The Rebellious Body of the New Human Being: Socialist Nudism in the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933” in Rebellion and Revolution: Defiance in German Language, History, and Art, ed. Priscilla Layne and Melissa Etzler (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010), 189-203.
  • “Preface” in Berlin Since the Wall’s End, ed. John A. Williams (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008).
  • “Protecting Nature Between Democracy and Dictatorship: The Changing Ideology of the Bourgeois Conservationist Movement, 1925-1935” in Germany’s Nature: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental History, ed. Thomas Lekan and Thomas Zeller (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2005), 183-206.
  • “Ecstasies of the Young: Sexuality, the Youth Movement, and Moral Panic in Germany on the Eve of the First World War” in Central European HistoryXXXIV:2 (2001), 162-189.
  • “Steeling the Young Body: Official Attempts to Discipline Youth Hiking in Germany from 1913 to 1938” in Occasional Papers in German Studies XII (1997).
  • “‘The Chords of the German Soul are Tuned to Nature’: The Movement to Preserve the Natural Heimat from the Kaiserreich to the Third Reich” in Central European History XXIX:3 (1996), 339-384.
  • Review of Barbara Hales, Michaela Petrescu, and Valerie Weinstein, eds., Continuity and Crisis in German Cinema, 1928-1936 in Journal of Contemporary European Studies (July 2018).
  • Review of Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, Hi Hitler! How the Nazi Past is Being Normalized in Contemporary Culture in The Journal of Modern History 89:3 (forthcoming September 2017).
  • Review of Brian Hoffman, Naked: A Cultural History of American Nudism in Bulletin of the History of Medicine 90:2 (Summer 2016), 352-353.
  • Review of Moritz Föllmer, Individuality and Modernity in Berlin: Self and Society from Weimar to the Wall in American Historical Review (forthcoming 2014).
  • Review of DVD/Blu-Ray release of The Blue Angel in Modernism/ModernityXX:4 (November, 2013), 801-804.
  • Review of Sandra Chaney, Nature in the Miracle Years: Conservation in West Germany, 1945-1975in Central European History XLIII:1 (March 2010), 212-214.
  • Review of Luke Springman, Carpe Mundum: German Youth Culture of the Weimar Republic for H-Childhood, August 2008.
  • Review of Willi Oberkrome, “Deutsche Heimat”: Nationale Konzeption und regionale Praxis von Naturschutz, Landschaftsgestaltung, und Kulturpolitik in Westfalen-Lippe und Thüringen (1900-1960) for H-German, May 2007.
  • Review of Franz-Josef Brüggemeier, Marc Cioc, and Thomas Zeller, eds., How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich for H-German, July 3, 2006.
  • Review of Gerald Izenberg, Modernism and Masculinity: Mann, Wedekind, Kandinsky Through World War I in Central European HistoryXXXVI:1 (2003), 136-139.
  • Review of Karl Toepfer, Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935 in Central European HistoryXXXIII:1 (2000), 145-147.
  • Review of William H. Rollins, A Greener Vision of Home: Cultural Politics and Environmental Reform in the German Heimatschutz Movement, 1904-1918 in Central European History XXXII:3 (1999), 345-349.


  • Intellectual and Cultural Affairs Committee, 2008-2010 and 2017-2021
  • LAS College Tenure and Promotion Committee, 2017-2019
  • LAS Mission, Vision, and Values Committee, 2017-2018
  • Chair of the Department of History January-May, 2011 and August, 2012-April, 2015
  • Faculty Senate, 1999-2003, 2005-2009, 2017-2018.
  • Affirmative Action Committee, 2015-2018
  • Chair of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Excellence Award Committee, 2013-2015
  • President, Bradley Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, 2012-2015
  • Advisory Board of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, 2010-2015
  • Chair of History Department Tenure and Promotion Committee, 2008-2010 and 2017
  • Senate Sabbatical Leave Committee, 2008-2010
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences College Curriculum Committee, 2007-2010
  • Director of the annual Berlin Seminar for North American academics, 2000-2006