Richard Rawls

Dr. Richard Rawls

Professor of History

School of Liberal Arts
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Dr. Rawls' teaching philosophy aims to develop the whole person. His classes feature both written and spoken assignments. In classroom debates, he often encourages students to debate from the opposing position of what they actually think in order to "help them learn the nuances of both positions more fully." He also encourages students to view the classroom environment as a continuum. Some students are further along than others, including the professor, but that does not make one person "smarter than another, just more well read in a certain area." He thus endeavors to turn the classroom into a learning environment of mutual accountability. In assigning readings, he mixes a balance between the classic standards and texts relatively unknown to students. He hopes that in encountering others from the past, students learn simultaneously about past peoples and their problems AND about themselves. "I've found that when students really dig into the texts we read, some of their historically centered egocentrisms are replaced by a more realistic understanding of their own lives," he said.

Rawls maintains three areas of research interest: 1) the Late-Roman Empire and its immediate barbarian successor states; 2) philosophy of religion and the problem of evil; and 3) ancient philosophy. Despite a full teaching load, he continues to research, present papers and publish in each of these areas. He has a two-volume contract with the University of Scranton Press to publish on Visigothic history and conversions. In Fall 2008, he published an article on Natural Evils in Pacific Journal (vol 3), and as recently as 2006, he presented a conference paper on the Stoicism of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Rawls also believes in the benefit of international study, having led and taught on study tours to Greece and Spain.


  • Doctorate – history – Emory University
  • Master's – religion (philosophical theology and church history) – Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Master's – history – Emory University
  • Bachelor's – history and communications – Fresno Pacific College

Academic Interests

  • Late Ancient Roman Empire
  • Early Medieval history
  • Barbarians, especially Visigoths
  • Second Century Roman Empire and Marcus Aurelius
  • Ancient philosophy
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Problem of evil


  • Outstanding Teacher Award, 2020 – Georgia Gwinnett College
  • NETA – Nickel (Family) Excellence in Teaching Award