Andrew J. Williams, Professor


Andrew Williams was educated at the University of Keele (History and Politics) and obtained his doctorate at the University of Geneva (Graduate Institute of International Studies) in 1985. Whilst in Geneva he worked, amongst other things, on matters related to the Cold War with Russian, Swiss and other colleagues. This nurtured a lifelong interest in the interrelationship of the history of the international system and of conflict processes, a combination which is perhaps a bit unusual in a School of International Relations. He also worked in Geneva for an organisation that specialised in the study and practice of conflict, and bought him into close contact with international organisations such as the UN.

This combination of interests led him to move to the University of Kent (1985-2006) to work with a group of scholars which included Chris Brown, Stephen Chan, A.J.R. Groom and Keith Webb. While in Canterbury he first wrote two books on East-West relations in the interwar years:  Labour and Russia (1989) and Trading with the Bolsheviks (1992) as well as a number of edited volumes on post-Cold War security issues. A next major monograph was: Failed Imagination: New World Orders of the Twentieth Century (1997); with a  2nd edition published in 2007 as Failed Imagination?: The Anglo-American New World Order from Wilson to Bush), as well as Liberalism and War (2006), a historical analysis of policies pursued in the aftermath of wars in the Twentieth Century. 

He came to St. Andrews in 2006 where he continued to teach in the areas of conflict and history. One result of the former interest was a collaborative book, with Roger Mac Ginty, Conflict and Development, (1st ed 2009; 2nd ed 2016). On the latter, historical, area of interest he has been writing extensively about France’s relations with the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ powers in the Twentieth Century. This project that has so far produced a number of articles as well as: France, Britain and the United States, 1900-1940: A Reappraisal (2014), with a second volume (on the period 1940-1975) in preparation. His wider interest in the relationship between the study of history and that of international relations led to a text book, with Amelia Hadfield and Simon Rofe, International History and International Relations, (2012), and an extended entry on "History and International Relations" In Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations, online (2017).

In addition to his practical work in Geneva, Professor Williams' career has seen him involved in working visits to many countries, including Eritrea, Kenya, Moldova and Russia, as well as prolonged visits to France and the United States for research and teaching.  This has included a number of positions as a professeur invité at the Institut de Sciences Politiques in Lille, France from 1998-2016 as well as at Sciences Po in Paris. He worked with colleagues from Kent and elsewhere in Moldova on a prolonged project to promote a peaceful dialogue after the civil war of the early 1990s. He was Editor of The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs from 2004-2008 and of The International History Review from 2010-2016.

Professor Williams describes himself as an historian but with a keen interest in conflict processes. For him these two themes are of self – evident mutual interest.

Research areas

The current principle research interest is in the relationship between the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ (Britain and the United States) Powers and France in the twentieth century. A recurrent interest is for the way that conflict processes and outcomes can be best interpreted with reference to history. Linked to this is an ongoing attempt to write about and teach the linkages which exist between the study of international relations and of international history.




  • 'The IR that dare not speak its name: the French Extreme (and not so extreme) Right in the 1930s and its lessons from and to the history of thought in IR' in Ian Hall (ed) Radicals and Reactionaries in Twentieth Century International Thought, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015
  • Menage a Trois? Britain, France and the United States, 1900 – 1914. International Relations and What Might Have Been Different’ in: Claire Sanderson and Melanie Torrent (eds) Challenges to British Power Status: Foreign Policy and Diplomacy in the 20th Century Oxford, Peter Lang, 2012
  • ‘Reconstruction: the Missing Historical Link’Chapter for: Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches (ed. Oliver Richmond), Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
  • ‘Liberalism’ in Patrick Hayden, (ed.) The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations,  Ashgate, 2009
  • "History and International Relations." In Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations, ed. Patrick James. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • Reconstruction: The Bringing of Peace and Plenty or Occult Imperialism? In Oliver Richmond and Roger Mac Ginty (eds) The Liberal Peace and Post-War Reconstruction: Myth or Reality, London, Routledge, 2009
  • ‘The British Way of War’ (substantial entry, in French) for Benoît Durieux, Jean-Baptiste Jeangène-Vilmer, Frédéric Ramel (eds), Dictionnaire de la guerre et de la paix Presses Universitaires de France, forthcoming
  • ‘Leo Pasvolsky and an Open World Economy’: Chapter for Cornelia Navari and Molly Cochran (eds.Progressivism at Bay: American thinkers on war and peace during the interwar periodPalgrave, forthcoming
  • ‘Second Track Conflict Resolution Processes in the Moldova Conflict, 1993 – 2000: Problems and Possibilities’, in Ronald J. Fisher (ed.) Paving the Way: Contributions of Interactive Conflict Resolution in Peacemaking, Lanham, Lexington Books, 2005 pp. 143 - 160.


  • ‘Waiting for Monsieur Bergson: Nicholas Murray Butler, James T. Shotwell and the French Sage’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Volume 23, Number 2, 1 June 2012 , pp. 236-253 (18)
  • ‘Norman Angell and his French Contemporaries, 1900 - 1914’ Diplomacy and Statecraft, Volume 21, Number 4, December 2010 , pp. 574-592(19)
  • “Why Don’t the French Do Think Tanks?: France Faces up to the Anglo-Saxon Superpowers, 1918-1921”, Review of International Studies, Vol. 34, No.1, January 2008, pp 53 - 68
  • “‘Reconstruction’ before the Marshall Plan”, Review of International Studies, Vol. 31, Number 3, July 2005, pp. 541 - 558
  • ‘Before the Special Relationship: The Council on Foreign Relations, The Carnegie Foundation and the Rumour of a Anglo-American War’, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Volume 1, Number 2, Autumn 2003, pages 233 - 251
  • “Sir John Bradbury and the Reparations Commission, 1920-1925”, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2002, pp 81-102
  • “France and the New World Order, 1940-1947” Modern and Contemporary France, Vol. 8, No. 2, May 2000, 191-202.



  • International History and International Relations (IR3049)
  • The Aftermath of Wars: Liberal Dilemmas (Reconstruction, Peacebuilding etc) (IR4523)
  • The First World War and its Impact on the International System (IR5053).

Research students

Professor Williams is now semi-retired and is therefore unable to take on more research students.

PhD supervision topics

Professor Williams is now semi-retired and is therefore unable to take on more research students.

Further information

Latest monograph review (H-Diplo Review)

Andrew J. Williams. France, Britain and the United States in the Twentieth Century 1900-1940. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Recent grants awarded

  • Carnegie Trust for Scotland, 19 Noveber 2014 to 21 November 2014, £2,500.
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Arthur J. Schlesinger, Jr. Research Fellowship, November 2014, $3500.
  • Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute 2010 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Fellowship, $8000.

Recent (major) external lectures

  • ‘The State’, keynote lecture to the Royal College of Defence Studies Programme, 2017, 8 September 2016.
  • ‘Liberty versus Liberté: French influences on the global order, 1914/18-1945’, Keynote lecture at ‘Parliaments, Foreign Policy and Transnationalization: Methodological Challenges’: Workshop organised by the Academy of Finland Project, Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, 24 September 2015 to 26 September 2015.
  • ‘France and the Origins of the United Nations, 1944: ‘Si La France ne compte plus, qu’on nous le dise’: Paper for ‘Culture and Conflict: Persepctives from the Past and Present, Library of Congress’, Washington DC, 18 November 2015 to 19 November 2015, sponsored by the AHRC. [Another version of this was delivered at The International History Institute, Boston University, 6 November 2014].
  • ‘The IR that dare not speak its name: the French Extreme (and not so extreme) Right in the 1930s and its lessons from and to the history of thought in IR’ Political Science Department, Baylor University,14 November 2014, and University of Kent School of History 3 December 2014.