Mason B. Williams

Mason B. Williams

Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies and Political Science

[email protected] 413-597-2711
Schapiro Hall Rm 225
At Williams since 2014


B.A. Princeton University, History (2006)
M.A. Columbia University, History (2009)
Ph.D. Columbia University, History (2012)

Areas of Expertise

  • 20th century United States history
  • U.S. political history
  • The history of American capitalism
  • The history of cities
  • Historical memory


Note: courses in gray are not offered this academic year.

LEAD 125 / PSCI 125(F)

Leadership, Power and Legitimacy: An Introduction to Leadership Studies

PSCI 215 / LEAD 215(S)

Race and Inequality in the American City

LEAD 369 / PSCI 369(S)

The Crisis of Leadership

Scholarship/Creative Work

My research focuses on the intersection of political economies and democratic politics. My first book, City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York (New York: Norton, 2013), examines the relationship between progressive reform in New York City and the national New Deal. It received the Bancroft Dissertation Prize and was named an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review. My next book, City of Fortune: Urban Democracy in the Age of Inequality, examines the political economy of affluent cities (especially New York, but also London and San Francisco) in the late 20th century. It will also be published by W.W. Norton.

I’m also working on two edited volumes: Political History Unbound: Governance and Citizenship in 20th Century America (with Brent Cebul and Lily Geismer); and Protest, Politics, and Ideas in the American Century: Essays in Honor of Alan Brinkley (with David Greenberg and Moshik Temkin).

Some shorter essays/features:

“Warnings from the Age of Marble,” The Atlantic (2015).

“53 Historians Weigh In on Obama’s Legacy,” New York Magazine (2015).

“What Made the Roosevelts the Roosevelts?” The New Republic (2014).



Professional Affiliations

  • Urban History Association
  • Business History Conference
  • Organization of American Historians
  • American Historical Association


Current Committees

  • Leadership Studies Program