Williams, Kristen P. 1964–
Williams, Kristen P. 1964–
Born September 4, 1964.
Political scientist, educator, and writer. Clark University, Worcester, MA, associate professor of government and international relations. Previously at University of California, Los Angeles, visiting assistant professor of political science.
Despite Nationalist Conflicts: Theory and Practice of Maintaining World Peace, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2001.
(With Steven L. Spiegel, Jennifer Morrison Taw, and Fred L. Wehling) World Politics in a New Era, 3rd edition, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 2004.
(With Neal G. Jesse) Identity and Institutions: Conflict Reduction in Divided Societies, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2005.
(With Joyce P. Kaufman) Women, the State, and War: A Comparative Perspective on Citizenship and Nationalism, Lexington Books (Lanham, MD), 2007.
Contributor to books, including The New Great Power Coalition, edited by Richard Rosecrance, Rowman & Littlefield, 2001; and Ethnic Conflict and International Politics: Explaining Diffusion and Escalation, edited by Steven E. Lobell and Philip Mauceri, Palgrave MacMillan, 2004. Contributor to professional journals, including Political Psychology and International Issues.
Kristen P. Williams is a political scientist whose interests include gender, national identity and war, and the impact of war on women in mixed marriages. In her first book, Despite Nationalist Conflicts: Theory and Practice of Maintaining World Peace, the author examines various types of reasons and strategies available to states faced with demands for territorial revisions. Exploring the links between nationalism, ethnic demands for revision of territories, and international relations, the author examines how tensions in territorial sovereignty disputes can be overcome. In the process she writes about four specific cases: the unification of Germany in the nineteenth century, the breakup of Yugoslavia and Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kashmir.
Writing in the book's preface, the author notes: "The continuing tension between the principles of territorial sovereignty and self-determination remains ever present in the post-Cold War period as ethnic and nationalists groups seek to revise borders to reflect their population composition. Given that most states in the system are multiethnic, these territorial demands provide a challenge for governments and scholars alike. How can the tension between the two principles of territorial sovereignty and self-determination be overcome? I argue that to maintain international peace and stability, the demands of states or groups seeking to revise territory so as to incorporate their kin must be addressed through a strategy that combines firmness to maintain the existing territorial status quo with flexibility that accommodates the self-determination of revisionists."
The author begins her book by developing her theoretical argument and then presents four case study chapters for analysis. In her examination of the issues concerning the importance of territoriality and international relations, the author uses a blend of historical analysis and theoretical international relations to offer a picture of what territoriality means and how to best deal with it.
Despite Nationalist Conflicts received several favorable reviews. "There is nothing in book-length form, at least that this reviewer is aware of, that closely compares to what Williams is attempting," noted John W. Outland in Perspectives on Political Science. Micah Zenko, writing in the Political Science Quarterly, referred to Despite Nationalist Conflicts as a "theoretically informed effort to advance the important debate over the relationship between territory and ethnicity."
Williams is also the author, with Neal Jesse, of Identity and Institutions: Conflict Reduction in Divided Societies. In their book, the authors explore how to reduce conflicts between various nationalist/ethnic groups. Including case studies, the authors develop a solution that involves resolving issues of identity and perceptions of inequality and establishing cross-national, democratic institutions to promote overlapping identities and pooling sovereignty.
In the book's preface, the authors note: "The first decade following the end of the Cold War did not bring an end to conflicts between nationalistic/ethnic groups around the world. Such conflicts revolve around issues of identity; territorial control; access to policy making; and political, economic, and social resources. These conflicts pose a challenge to scholars and policy makers searching for practical solutions."
In their book, Williams and Jesse explain how overlapping identities can reduce tension by helping groups lose their strict definitions of "self" and "others." They go on to show that pooling sovereignty across international and national representative bodies provides increased access to governmental policymaking for everyone involved. "For scholars of identity politics and conflict resolution, this is certainly a worthy addition to the literature," wrote Steven Majstorovic in a review in the Political Science Quarterly.
Williams wrote Women, the State, and War: A Comparative Perspective on Citizenship and Nationalism with Joyce P. Kaufman. In this book, the authors employ a comparative case study approach to examine the theoretical foundations for the ways that citizenship, nationalism, and marriage are gendered.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Williams, Kristen P., Despite Nationalist Conflicts: Theory and Practice of Maintaining World Peace, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2001.
Williams, Kristen P., and Neal G. Jesse, Identity and Institutions: Conflict Reduction in Divided Societies, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2005.
Perspectives on Political Science, March 22, 2002, John W. Outland, review of Despite Nationalist Conflicts, p. 120.
Political Science Quarterly, December 22, 2001, Micah Zenko, review of Despite Nationalist Conflicts, p. 651; March 22, 2006, Steven Majstorovic, review of Identity and Institutions, p. 188.
Prairie Schooner, December 22, 2001, review of Despite Nationalist Conflicts, p. 651.
Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2001, review of Despite Nationalist Conflicts, p. 161.
Clark University Government Department Web site,http://www.clarku.edu/ (April 23, 2008), faculty profile of author.