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 alongside sister Liza and brother Ray in Cullowhee, North Carolina, by Max and Sarah Williams.


  • HIS 321 Topics in European History:
    • Germany since 1870.
    • 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, 1870-1945
  • HIS 340 Twentieth-Century Europe
  • HIS 340 (Study Abroad in Berlin): Twentieth-Century Europe--Focus on Germany
  • HIS 342 Europe, 1789-1914
  • HIS 350 Junior Seminar in Historical Methods
  • HIS 375 The Holocaust
  • HIS 382 Women, Work, and Family 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
    • European Revolutions of 1989
  • HON 101 Honors Seminar:
    • Cinematic Poetry
    • Recent Documentary Filmmaking
    • The Films of Robert Altman
    • Twenty-First Century Filmmaking
    • Women and Families in World Film
  • MLS 610 Weimar Germany: Culture and Politics
  • CIV 100, 101, 102, and 111/112 Western Civilization
  • Recipient of Bradley University’s annual Charles M. Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009.


  • Current research project: “European Film after 1945 in Historical Context.”
  • Turning to Nature in Germany: Hiking, Nudism, and Conservation, 1900-1940. Stanford University Press, 2007.
  • 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.
  • “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 History XXXIV: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 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/Modernity XX:4 (November, 2013), 801-804.
  • Review of Sandra Chaney, Nature in the Miracle Years: Conservation in West Germany, 1945-1975 in 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 at
  • 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 at
  • 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 at
  • Review of Gerald Izenberg, Modernism and Masculinity: Mann, Wedekind, Kandinsky Through World War I in Central European History XXXVI:1 (2003), 136-139.
  • Review of Karl Toepfer, Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935 in Central European History XXXIII: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.


  • Chair of the Department of History since January, 2011

  • Chair of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Excellence Award Committee, 2013-2015.

  • Co-Founder, Bradley Anti-Slavery Coalition, 2010

  • Innovative Teaching Panel of the Office for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, 2010-2013

  • Chair of History Department Tenure and Promotion Committee, 2008-2010

  • Senate Sabbatical Leave Committee, 2008-2010

  • Intellectual and Cultural Affairs Committee, 2008-2010

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences College Curriculum Committee, 2007-2010

  • Director of the annual Berlin Seminar for North American academics, 2000-2006