Francis Christopher Oakley

Williams College
Historian; Educator; Academic administrator
Humanities and Arts


Professor Francis Christopher Oakley is Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus, at Williams College, and President Emeritus of the college and of the American Council of Learned Societies. His research focuses on late-medieval and early-modern religious studies and history of political thought. He has written on political thought, natural philosophy, natural theology and ecclesiology. He also writes on American higher education and the liberal arts tradition. his current work concerns the tradition of conciliarist constitutionalism in the latin Catholic Church from the 16th-19th centuries, and, secondarily, ideas current from 1200-1700 concerning natural law, natural rights, and (physical) laws of nature. A distinguished scholar, Oakley has written 13 books and received the Roland Bainton Book Prize and the 2012 Newberry Library Award. His past leadership includes serving as president of the New England Medieval Conference, the Fellows of the Medieval Academy of America and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Medieval Academy of America. 

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