Rhaisa Williams, “Screaming to Dream: Toni Morrison, Emmett Till, and Black Maternal Grief”

October 25, 2019
12:00 pmto1:30 pm

Location: TBD

Lorwin Lectureship Series

Rhaisa Kameela Williams is assistant professor of Theater and Performance Studies in the Performing Arts Department at Washington University in St. Louis. Williams’ research uses mixed-archive methods—spanning across literature, family history, archives, and public policy—to focus on the intersections of blackness, motherhood, affect, and disquieting modes of freedom.

Rhaisa Kameela Williams

Currently, she is writing her manuscript, Mama, Don’t You Weep: Motherhood, Blackness, and Performances of Grief, that traces the intimate relationship between grief and black motherhood from the civil rights movement to the present. Offering discontinuous readings of grief, the book asserts that black women, no matter their personal relationship to offspring or othermothering, have specifically mobilized grief inherent to black motherhood as a tactic to perform, remake, and critique forms of citizenship.

Williams earned her Ph.D and M.A. in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been supported by the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, and the Mellon, Woodrow Wilson, and Ford foundations; and has appeared in Transforming Anthropology, Callaloo, andBiography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly. 

The Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is funded by a gift from Val and Madge Lorwin to the University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law.