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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I research gender, social change, community building, andreligious practices in modern East Africa. Focused on Protestant communities in Kenya and Tanzania, my current project argues that spiritual discourses served as key resources for Christian women as they negotiated changing gender norms across the second half of the twentieth century. This work, titled “God Gave Women Power: Intersections of Faith, Gender, Agency, and Well-Being in Christian East Africa, uses oral interviews and ethnographic methods to bring local, embodied knowledge into conversation with academic scholarship. Beyond research,I enjoy introducing students to non-Western cultures and histories, facilitating healthy department life through service on various committees, cooking, and running.

Research Interests

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


  • 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
  • Introduction to Global History, HIST 100 (TA)
  • Constructing Race in America, HIST 281 (TA)
  • Introductory Swahili (GA)

Selected Publications

Journal Articles


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