School of Politics and International Relations

Dr David Williams, BSc(Econ), MSc, PhD


Senior Lecturer

Telephone: 020 7882 8594
Room Number: Arts One, 2.27B
Office Hours: Thursday 10-11am and 3-4pm


David Williams completed his MSc and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He was Hedley Bull and Talbot Junior Research Fellow in International Relations at Lady Margaret Hall, and Departmental Lecturer in International Relations at Oxford University. Subsequently he was Head of the Department for International Politics at City University before joining Queen Mary University London in 2012.


Research Interests:

My research interests lie at the intersection  of international relations, international development and political theory. I have written widely on relations between western development agencies and developing states, particularly linking development policy and practice with liberal political theory. I am currently engaged in two projects. The first explores the contours of anti-colonial liberalism. The second looks at the implementation of anti-money laundering regimes in developing countries, using the case study of Ghana.
I welcome PhD applications in the following areas:
  • Development policy and practice
  • Foreign aid
  • International Liberalism
  • global governance and development



The World Bank and Domestic Transformation in International Politics: Liberalism, Governance and Sovereignty (London, Routledge, hbk. 2008, pbk. 2011).

International Development and Global Politics: History, Theory and Practice (London, Routledge, hbk. and pbk. 2011).

Edited books

Governing the World? The Practice of Global Governance, co-edited with Sophie Harman (London, Routledge, forthcoming 2013).

Journal Articles

‘Liberalism and the Development Discourse’, Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute 63(3) 1993, 419-429.

‘Governance, the World Bank and Liberal Theory’, Political Studies 42(1) 1994, 84-100, with Tom Young. (Reprinted in Morten Boas and Benedict Bull (eds.) International Development, Sage Library of International Development, (London, Sage 2010)).

‘Governance and the Discipline of Development’, European Journal of Development Research 8(2) 1996, 157-177.

 ‘Economic Development and the Limits of Institutionalism’, SAIS Review 28(1) 1998, 1-17.

‘Africa and International Relations’, Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute 68(3) 1998, 425-439.

‘Constructing the Economic Space: International Organisations and the Making of Homo Oeconomicus’, Millennium 28(1) 1999, 79-99 (reprinted in David Moore (ed.), Banking on Hegemony: Critical Essays on the World Bank’s Development Discourse).

‘Aid and Sovereignty: Quasi-States and the International Financial Institutions’, Review of International Studies 26(4) 2000, 557-573.

What do We Know about Economic Growth? Or, Why don’t We Know Very Much’, World Development, 29(1) 2001, 1-22. With Charles Kenny.

‘Aid and Sovereignty: A Reply to Ralf Leiteritz’, Review of International Studies, 28(2) 2002, 437-439.

‘Aid as Autobiography’, Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 72(1) 2002, 150-163.

 ‘Managing Sovereignty: The World Bank and Development Policymaking in Sub-Saharan Africa’, Mondes en Dévelopment, special issue on ‘Sovereignty and Underdevelopment in Africa’, vol. 31, 5-21, 2003.

‘“Development” and Global Governance: The World Bank, Financial Sector Reform and the “Will to Govern”’, International Politics 45(2) 2008, 212-227

‘Making a Liberal State: “Good Governance” in Ghana’, Review of African Political Economy, 37(126) 2010, 403-419.

‘Civil Society and the Liberal Project in Ghana and Sierra Leone’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 6(1) 2012, 57-72, with Tom Young.

Articles in edited books

‘Good Governance and the Ideology of Transformation’, Eberhard Kienle and William Hale (eds.), After the Cold War: Security and Democracy in Africa and Asia (London, IB Taurus, 1997).

‘Foreign and Security Policy’, Gillian Peele, Christopher Bailey, Bruce Caine, and  B. Guy Peters (eds.), Developments in American Politics 4 (London, Macmillan, 2002).

‘The World Bank and the Liberal Project’, David Moore (ed.), Banking on Hegemony: Critical Essays on the World Bank’s Development Discourse (Scottsville, University of KwaZulu-Natal press, 2007).

‘The International Politics of Social Transformation: Trusteeship and Intervention in Historical Perspective’, Mark Duffield and Vernon Hewitt (eds.), Empire, Development and Colonialism: The Past in the Present (London, James Curry, 2009)

‘The Study of Development’, Bruce Currie-Adler, Ravi Kanbur, David Malone and Rohinton Medora (eds.), Handbook of Development Thought, (Oxford, Oxford University Press forthcoming, 2013).

‘The History of International Development Aid’, Manuella Moschella and Catherine Weaver (eds.), Handbook of Global Economic Governance (London, Routledge, forthcoming 2013).

‘Introduction: Governing the World?’ Governing the World? The Practice of Global Governance, co-edited with Sophie Harman (London, Routledge, forthcoming 2013) (with Sophie Harman).

‘State Agency and State Formation in Africa’, Williams Brown and Sophie Harman (eds.) African Agency (London, Routledge forthcoming 2013).

Public Engagement

External Adviser for Royal Holloway University of London, Periodic Departmental Review of Department of Politics and International Relations.

External Reviewer for Swansea University, Periodic Review, Department of Political and Cultural Studies.