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Elizabeth W. Williams

Elizabeth W. Williams is Assistant Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at University of Kentucky. She completed her PhD in History, with a minor in Feminist Studies, at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include the history of race, gender, and sexuality; imperialism; Post/De-colonial studies; and Queer Theory. She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled "Primitive Normativity: Constructing Race and Sexuality in Colonial Kenya." This project argues that white Kenyan settlers contrasted the deviance and dysfunctionality which plagued "civilized" sexuality with the supposed normativity of African sexual mores and practices. Ironically, by presenting Africans as vulnerable to sexual contamination, settlers were able to oppose processes like urbanization, education, and Christianization that threatened white supremacy in the colony.

Elizabeth has taught courses on a variety of topics, including the politics of sex scandals, the history of sexuality, and global GLBTQ identities. She is enthusiastic about cats, feminist crafting, and Foucault, not necessarily in that order.

Selected Publications:

Elizabeth W. Williams. “Queering Settler Romance: The Reparative Eugenic Landscape in Nora Strange’s Kenyan Novels.” In Archiving Settler Colonialism: Culture, Space, and Race. Eds. Yuting Huang and Rebecca Weaver-Hightower. London and New York: Routledge, 2019.

Elizabeth W. Williams. "“Stoop Low to Conquer”: Race and sexual trusteeship in the Kenyan “Indian Crisis” of 1923." Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 19, no. 3 (2018)

Anna Clark and Elizabeth W. Williams, "Sexuality.” In A Cultural History of Western Empires in the Modern Age. Ed. Patricia Lorcin. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.

Anna Clark and Elizabeth W. Williams, eds. The History of Sexuality: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 2015.