New faculty spotlight: Rashad Williams

August 19, 2022

"Professor Rashad Williams"Dr. Rashad Williams is an incoming Assistant Professor of Race & Social Justice in Public Policy. His research crosses the boundaries of urban planning, urban politics, and the critical philosophy of race to study the urban expressions of the Black reparations movement. Earlier this year, he was honored with the Emerging Scholar Award by the Urban Affairs Association. 

“I had always been interested in the ways that race and class materially structured the lives of individuals and groups in society—namely racialized minorities, the working class, and the poor—and how they structured social interaction, particularly in cities,” said Williams. “The study of housing policy, and particularly segregation, allowed me to explore these issues systematically.” Housing policy soon led Williams to urban planning. 

As an ideational scholar, his research explores the conditions under which egalitarian ideas become implemented into municipal policy. He has coined the term reparative planning to describe the implementation of redress policies at the urban scale.  

“Because the goal of scholarship in my area is not only to understand systems of oppression, but to challenge and dismantle them, I was drawn to Black political thought. I found that Black political thought—and more specifically what has been termed the Black radical tradition—offered the most compelling accounts of race and class subjugation.” 

Williams will be incorporating his scholarship in reparative planning and Black political thought into his fall semester classes, PIA 2224 Reparations: Policy, Theory and History, and PIA 2223 City of White Supremacy.  

“I'm most excited to meet the students and to intellectually journey with them through the many content areas and theoretical perspectives that inform their chosen fields,” he said 

Fun fact: Williams used to be a classically trained vocalist—and still sings jazz, but only for fun. He’s also a foodie, and loves trying new, exciting, and well-plated dishes.  

Every Friday for the next month, we’ll be spotlighting each new faculty member joining us for the Fall 2022 semester. Stay tuned to meet next week’s new faculty member!