Saint Martin's University

Richard L. Langill

Richard Langill

Title and discipline: professor, political science, history

Contact information
Office location: Old Main 333
Phone: 360-438-4588

Areas of specialization: International relations and American foreign-policy; Comparative Politics-Europe and Asia, Global International Issues, World Regional Geography, Middle East Politics, Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian politics and history.

I did my undergraduate degree in political science at California State University, Long Beach where I also received my master's degree. My master's thesis was on the political theory of Robert McIver, a political sociologist who taught at Columbia University for many years. After finishing my master's degree, my wife and I joined the Peace Corps from 1967 to 1969 where I served as a rural health and community development worker in Western Samoa in the South Pacific. During this period of time I worked on sanitation projects, well baby clinics, and community development projects. We lived with a poor, rural, subsistence family in a Samoan village.

After finishing the Peace Corps, I received a full scholarship with tuition remission to study for my Ph.D. at the American University in Washington D.C. My formal degree was in international studies and my fields of study included the following areas — international relations, comparative politics, Southeast Asian studies, and economic development. I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on "Military Rule and Developmental Policy in Indonesia under the New Order." My dissertation focused on development policies of the Suharto government and how those policies developed the country economically without substantially improving the lot of the average Indonesian citizen.

My first full-time teaching position was at a small liberal arts college in south-central Illinois called Blackburn College. I taught a wide variety of courses at this institution and became the department chair and the division Dean before I left. I served as the director of advising at that institution and also the accreditation officer. In that capacity I wrote one 10-year accreditation report for the North Central Association.

In 1985-86 I left to become the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Saint Martin's College. I served under Dr. David Spangler in this position for 12 years. During that period of time I worked to reintroduce foreign languages at the University. I was also responsible for reintroducing the sociology program in the freshmen seminar program and developing the current general education program. In 1998 I resigned my administrative position to assume a full-time teaching position in the Department of Political Science and History at Saint Martin's University where I have been teaching ever since.

I teach a variety of courses in the department including PLS 152-Global Issues, PLS 300-International Relations, PLS 350-European Politics, PLS 352-Asian Politics, PLS 330-The Cold War, HIS 217-Chinese and Japanese history, and GPH 210-World Regional Geography.

Select publications

  • "The Palestinian Dimension of the Gulf Crisis" Lacey Rotary Club, February 28,1991.
  • "Human Rights in the Middle East: An Overview," Amnesty International Meeting, January 30, 1991.
  • "Crisis in the Gulf: The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait," Lakewood Kwanis Club, November 20,1990.
  • "The Palestinian Question and U.S. Foreign Policy," West Olympia Rotary Club, January 24, 1989.
  • "THE US-PLO Dialogue" Middle East Conference. Oregon State University, May 2, 1989.
  • "Tunisia: Crossroads of the Mediterranean" American Association of University Women, Olympia, Washington, April 10, 1989.
  • "Political Change in Tunisia Since November, 1987" Regional Middle East Seminar, University of Washington, April 29, 1989.
  • "The US and the Middle East: Dangerous Drift" Great Decision Program. United Methodist Church, April 24, 1988.
  • "Tunisia: A Personal View" Olympia World Affairs Council, September 21, 1988.
  • "South Africa: Is Peace Possible" Piece of My Mind Series. Olympia, Washington, October 1, 1986.
  • "The Problem of Civic Illiteracy in American Education", The Burnian Magazine May 1983.
  • "US Policy and the Palestinian Question", Paper presented at the American University at Beirut, January 1982.
  • "Teaching Energy as a Global International" and "Teaching Environment as a Gobal Issue", Paper presented at the International Studies Convention, Philadelphia, PA, March 1981.
  • "Reunification of Vietnam", in Great Events From History. Salem International Publications, 1979.
  • "The Fall of Saigon" in Great Events From History. Salem International Publications, 1979.
  • Book Review of The Giants: Russia and America by Richard Barnet in Magill's Literacy Annual, Salem International Publications, 1978.
  • "Americans in Southeast Asia", Potomac Review VII, No 1, Summer 1975.
  • "Political Culture in Samoa", Paper presented at a Symposium on Comparative Politics, The American University, Washington, D. C., 1972.
  • "Military Rule and Developmental Policy in Indonesia Under Suharto"s New Order, 1966-1974", Ph.D. dissertation. The American University, Washington, D.C., 1977.
  • "The Ideas of Community and Freedom in the Political Theory of Robert McIver", M.A. Thesis. California State College, Long Beach, 1967.



As academic vice president at Saint Martin's I wrote three major accreditation reports — two interim reports and one 10 year report.

I have traveled extensively throughout many parts of the world. In 1982 I made a trip to Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the occupied territories. The purpose of this trip was to discuss the Palestinian issue with the leadership of the PLO, members of the Israeli government, the State Department, and neighboring countries. On this trip our group had an extensive meeting with Yasser Arafat, chairman of the PLO, in one of his bunkers at 2 o'clock in the morning. I spent the evening with Abu Jihad (Khalil al Wazir), the number two man in the PLO who was responsible for the PLO military. On this trip we also met a large number of Arab West Bank mayors who just been elected to office.

In 1989 I had a fellowship from the national Council on US Arab relations to spend a summer in Tunisia where I met again with Chairman Arafat and — on this occasion — his foreign minister, Farouk Khaddoumi. This trip had a profound impact on my life and studies. I continue to have a deep interest in the Palestinian question and teach this topic in several of my classes.

I received a Malone scholarship to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar. On this trip I gained a greater appreciation of the politics of the Arabian Gulf. We held extensive meetings with members of the Saudi government, the US Saudi Chamber of Commerce, institutions of higher education, and other NGOs.

Another side effect of these trips is an interest that I have developed in Islamic architecture. As a result of my first trip to North Africa I became interested in the contributions that Arabs have made to world civilization. I was particularly affected by the beauty of Islamic architecture. As a result I decided to finance several trips to North Africa and southern Spain to view and study the area's historic monuments. My wife and I traveled through Andalucia in southern Spain — and I through Morocco — viewing the remnants of Islamic civilization those countries. I occasionally lecture and show architectural slides from these travels.

My formal study at the University was in Southeast Asian politics. I was trained as a Southeast Asia expert with knowledge of Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. I studied the Indonesian language for four years and was awarded scholarships to study intensive Indonesian at Cornell University. I ended up writing my Ph.D. dissertation on Indonesian economic development under the new order government of Pres. Suharto. In 2010, my wife and I visited Indonesia and traveled extensively through Java and Bali. I have given a number of presentations in the community on Indonesia and I teach Indonesian politics at Saint Martin's.

I have an academic interest in both China and Japan. I was privileged to have several instructors who piqued my interest in Chinese history and Chinese politics. One of these was a professor Ho, an imminent Chinese historian prior to the Chinese communist revolution. He fled China for Taiwan in 1949 only to encounter the hot breath of the nationalist government on Taiwan. He came to the United States as a visiting professor at Long Beach State College. The courses I took with him on Imperial Chinese history were outstanding. Then, at American University I had the good fortune take a modern Chinese history course with Michael Lindsay, Lord Lindsay of Birker, who was knighted by the Queen for his service to the British Crown. Michael Lindsay was one of many foreigners who spent the war years in Yenan, Mao Zedong's base camp in Shenzi province. Michael Lindsay worked closely with the top Chinese leadership including Cho En-lai during the war years. He was a walking encyclopedia of modern Chinese history.

Since coming to Saint Martin's University I've had the opportunity to travel extensively in China and Japan. I've taught in China five times. I taught English to middle school kids in Sichuan province in the early 90s. I've taught four other times at Shanghai maritime University. I've traveled all over China including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chendu, Qingqing, Guangzhou, Sian, Nanjing, and Suzhou. In addition to being very knowledgeable about Chinese and Japanese history and politics, I have a personal interest in Chinese and Japanese gardens, and I have on occasion lectured on these with slides from my travels. I was awarded a JTB fellowship to travel throughout Japan in the late 1980s visiting the historic sites of Japan from Tokyo to the far western tip of Honshu island and Yamaguchi Prefecture.

In 1985, I was invited by the South African government to talk to governmental officials and other political leaders about the changing nature of apartheid in South Africa. This was a fabulous time to be in South Africa because it was during the key period of change from a white minority government to a government that included the black majority of the country. On this trip we visited Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, portal Elizabeth, Windhoek Namibia, and several other places. I maintain a deep interest in South African politics as a result of this trip.

Areas of interest (professional / personal)

I also have a lot of outside interests including gardening and the stock market. I have a greenhouse at home that I built myself and where I propagate a number of plants from seeds and cuttings. Over the years I have planted many of the flowers and shrubs that thrive on the Saint Martin's campus.

Many years ago I developed an interest in the stock market. I spend at least two hours a day reading business news and watching market activity. I follow markets very closely and keep abreast of international business needs that could affect stock prices. I've been moderately successful in trading and investing.

Education: B.A., California State University, Long Beach; M.A., California State University, Long Beach; Ph.D., The American University, Washington D.C.