Dr Huw Williams
Senior Lecturer (Coleg Cymraeg)
I am a political philosopher, interested in egalitarian and radical traditions of thought, with a particular focus on engaging with activism and the public sphere.
My research flows from these interests in three different directions, beginning with Anglo-American political philosophy, in particular the international theory of John Rawls. This research connects to the wider field of international political theory and questions of global justice. The focus on the global has also more recently intertwined with a focus on the local, namely the intellectual history of Wales and its progressive traditions of thought.
Key themes that connect the three strands of research include development, pacifism and utopianism, whilst I am interested in the interface between philosophy and activism, the potential connections between local and global movements, and the widening and deepening of the public sphere.
I teach largely through the medium of Welsh for the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, and have published a wide variety of writing in both English and Welsh, from books to blogs. This includes a philosophy and current affairs column for the Welsh Literary Review, O’r Pedwar Gwynt and articles for online publications such as The Conversation and OpenDemocracy.
I am part of the School's group of Philosophy researchers, and a member of Cardiff Law and Global Justice. I am also involved the in the Grangetown Community Gateway project, and have pursued other engagement activities such as the Cardiff Speaks project. I am Secretary of the Urdd Athronyddol (Philosopher's Guild).
I joined the Department in Cardiff in 2012.
As an undergraduate I studied philosophy and psychology at the LSE, and received a Diploma from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, in Central and Eastern European Studies. As a Morrell Scholar I studied political theory at the University of York Politics Graduate School. I received a Ph.D. from the International Politics department at Aberystwyth in 2009, where I then took up the post of lecturer, before moving to Cardiff in 2012 to take up the post of philosophy lecturer with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.
In my role as lecturer with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, it is my responsibility to expand the teaching of philosophy through the medium of Welsh across the higher education institutions in Wales.
I am on the Board of Directors of Mudiad Meithrin, a Wales-wide charity that provides pre-school care, and I'm on the committee of its local nursery. I was the secretary of the TAG campaign that fought successfully to establish a Welsh-medium primary school in South Cardiff. I am a member of the Labour Party.
- contemporary liberal political philosophy
- theories of global justice
- history of political thought
- philosophy and doctrine in Wales
My research interests span the fields of political philosophy, international political theory, and the history of ideas, focusing on egalitarian and radical aspects in particular. Specifically, I have worked closely on John Rawls' international theory, issues of global justice, and intellectual history in Wales.
My monograph, On Rawls, Development and Global Justice: The Freedom of Peoples (2011, reprinted 2016) elaborates Rawls' institution-building approach to international assistance, advocating pragmatism and the toleration of difference, offering an alternative to the discourse of democracy-building. I am currently expanding my analysis of 'The Law of Peoples' to issues of Democracy Promotion, Just War and the potential for moral learning in international society.
In the context of Global Justice I am interested in the presuppositions of the mainstream debate. I have written on the implicit conceptions of development in the field and in my latest, co-authored book, Global Justice: The Basics (Routledge 2017) with Carl Death, we interrogated the interface between theory and practice. I am currently writing on the place of language in the debate and also the possibilities of expanding its purview to other disciplines such as literary studies. These articles are developed in the context of seeking out the philosophical grounds for establishing greater global solidarity.
Another recent monograph, Credoau'r Cymry (2016 UWP) brought together my research on intellectual history in Wales, focusing in particular on radical figures such as Pelagius, Richard Price, Robert Owen, Henry Richard and Raymond Williams. The book experiments with form, including imaginary dialogues, and I am currently completing another monograph with the UWP, under the title Adferiad y Meddwl Cymreig (The Restoration of the Welsh Mind) which develops this strand of writing. I endeavour to use this research paradigm as a basis for regular contributions to public debate on contemporary politics in Wales. In 2012 I published the memoirs of the renowned former Home Office Minister, Lord Elystan Morgan (Lolfa), a book that reflects my commitment to the study of, and enhancement of politics and the public sphere in Wales' fledgling democracy.
I currently supervise three students across a range of subjects. Areas of particular interest are:
- Global Justice
- Anglo-American Political Philosophy
- Intellectual History, Philosophy and Politics in Wales
- Philosophy and Activism