Beth Ann Williams

 Beth Ann Williams

Contact Information

309 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801
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Research Interests

  • African History, East Africa
  • Women and Gender
  • Religious History (Christianity)

Research Description

My research focuses on post-independence East Africa. My current dissertation, titled “God Gave Women Power: Intersections of Faith, Gender, Agency, and Well-Being in Christian East Africa," explores the role of main-line, historic Christian denominations in social change in Kenya and Tanzania. Emphasizing oral histories and interviews across a range of economic and educational backgrounds, I ask how church has operated not only as a socio-economic institution but also a fulcrum for questions of gendered identity, work, family composition, and belonging. 


  • B.A. History and Anthropology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, 2011
  • Masters. History, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, May 2016

Distinctions / Awards

  • FLAS, Advanced Swahili, Summer 2014
  • Illinois Distinguished Fellowship, Fall 2013-Spring 2017
  • FLAS, Advanced Swahili, AY 2015-2016
  • Joseph Ward Swain Prize for best published graduate student paper, Spring 2018
  • Nelle M. Signor Graduate Scholarship in International Relations, Summer 2018
  • FLAS. Advanced Swahili. Center for African Studies. University of Illinois, Summer 2018
  • CCWH / Berks Graduate Student Fellowship, Summer 2018



  • SourceLab Independent Study Groups, HIST 491
  • Introduction to African History, HIST 110

Selected Publications

Journal Articles


Globalization and Human Rights: what historians have to say History Matters 2017.