Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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NEH honor

National Endowment for the Humanities picks professor as scholar

Associate Professor of Economics Russell Williams has been selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Scholar to attend one of 21 summer study opportunities supported by the federal agency.

Each summer the NEH supports seminars and institutes at colleges and universities so that teachers can work in collaboration and study with experts in the humanities and related disciplines.

Professor Williams will participate in an institute entitled “Teaching the History of Political Economy.” The three-week program, which begins June 6, will be held at Duke University and directed by Bruce Caldwell, professor of economics and director of the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke.

As one of only 25 selected scholars, Williams will explore the ideas of great economic thinkers.

“Studying the writings of the greatest minds in economics is always rewarding, but perhaps especially so in times of economic crisis,” Caldwell said. “What did Adam Smith and Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek really have to say? What might we learn from the great minds of the past?”

In light of the recent economic crisis, the study of the history of economic thought has become particularly relevant. Some participants may go on to develop history of economic thought courses of their own, others may choose to infuse existing courses in the social sciences and humanities with ideas they picked up at the Institute.

"We will receive advanced training from some of the top specialists in the world—and through our intensive study of the content and context of economic thought, the institute will enhance our abilities to analyze many important issues being faced in our nation and in the world today," said Williams. "I look forward to sharing insights from this additional layer of top expertise with the classes that I will be teaching this fall and in the years ahead."