Joseph Williams teaches Architectural History in the University of Maryland Architecture Program. He specializes in the architecture of the medieval Mediterranean. His research concerns the economics of church building during the medieval trade boom, the pan-Mediterranean exchange of building techniques, and the role of construction process in medieval design. These themes are central to Williams's current book project: Architecture of Disjuncture: Mediterranean Trade and Cathedral Building in a New Diocese (11th-13th Centuries CE). This monograph on the old cathedral of Molfetta offers a method for studying buildings that, by necessity, adopted hybrid and changing designs. Williams incorporates a variety of digital technologies into his research and teaching, such as digital photogrammetry, parametric 3-D modeling, and GIS mapping.
Williams holds a Ph.D. in Art, Art History & Visual Studies from Duke University and completed a Rome Prize in Medieval Studies at the American Academy in Rome (September 2016 - July 2018). He also currently serves as the Project Manager of the Kingdom of Sicily Image Database.