- Williams earned a Ph.D. in mass communications and an M.A. in magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She also earned a B.A. in English with a concentration in journalism at Jackson State University, a historically Black university in Jackson, Mississippi.
Dr. Sherri Williams is a race and representation researcher who teaches about how media images are connected to and uphold oppression and inequality. Williams, who was a journalist for a decade before entering academia, teaches journalism and media studies courses that examine how race, gender, class, sexual identity, ability, age and body size are portrayed in mass media. Williams believes that storytelling can be a tool for liberation.
Williams’ research is at the intersection of social media, social justice, reality television, mass media and how people of color use and are represented by these mediums. Williams is interested in how Black people’s use of social media is changing social justice and television. Williams is working on the forthcoming book, Black Social Television: Reviving an Old Medium, Resisting Stereotypes. She is also interested in and studies how marginalized people, especially Black women, are represented in mass media. A popular course that she created, Identity, Power and Misrepresentation, connects anti-Blackness, colonialism, genocide, Orientialism, heteropatriarchy and capitalism to contemporary stereotypes.
Preparing the next generation of journalists who can cover marginalized communities with dignity and accuracy is a priority for Williams. She sometimes partners with national media outlets, through her course COMM 588 Race, Ethnic and Community Reporting, for journalism projects in which students’ work produced in the course is published by national media outlets. Williams’ students 2020 presidential election project, Vision 2020: Election Stories from the Next Generation, was published by The Nation magazine in 2020. Her course-based journalism project, Racial Reckoning: A Year After a Movement Rocked the Nation, was published by Teen Vogue in 2021. She was also the co-director of the award-winning Black on Campus project which used Black journalism students to document Black college students’ experiences amid rising racism. It was published by The Nation magazine in 2018. Those newsroom and classroom collaborations earned Williams the National Association of Black Journalists Journalism Educator of the Year Award in 2021. She was also named one of NBC BLK’S fierce Black feminists you should know.
Global and national media outlets including BBC, Agence France Presse, The Washington Post, Variety, CNN, Al Jazeera America, USA Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Vice interviewed Williams for her expertise on race, representation, journalism and social media. She sometimes contributes to national media outlets as a contributing writer.
Williams, who is from Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a proud graduate of the historically Black university, Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.
Williams, S. (2023). Politics, Press and the Pandemic: Analyzing the Effectiveness of a Student Journalism Project. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. (Forthcoming).
Williams, S. (2022). Stream of sadness: young black women’s racial trauma, police brutality and social media. Feminist Media Studies. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2021.2006261
Williams, S. (2021). More than numbers: an intersectional examination of media portrayals of formerly incarcerated women Gladys and Jamie Scott. Feminist Media Studies. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2021.1984271
Williams, S. (2021). Watch Out for the Big Girls: Black plus-sized content creators creating space and amplifying visibility in digital spaces. Feminist Media Studies. DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2021.2004195
Williams, S. (2021). Revisiting Digital Defense and Black feminism on social media. Feminist Media Studies. DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2021.1996429
Williams S. (2020). Lived Experience and Living History: A Case Study of the Black on Campus Student Journalism Project. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator. doi:10.1177/1077695820922095
Williams, S. (2020). The Black Digital Syllabus Movement: The Fusion of Academia, Activism and Arts, Howard Journal of Communications, 31:5, 493-508, DOI: 10.1080/10646175.2020.1743393
COMM-270 How News Med Shape Hist
COMM-588 Race/Ethnic & Commun Reporting
COMM-396 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Ident, Power & Misrepresentn
COMM-521 Opinion Writing
Area of Expertise
Journalism, race in media, media diversity, feminism, feminist media studies, representations of Black women in media, social media, social justice, reality television, social television, pop culture
At the intersection of social media, social justice, reality television, mass media and how people of color use and are represented by these mediums is where you'll find Dr. Sherri Williams. Williams has a particular interest in how black people’s use of social media is changing social justice and the entertainment industry, especially television. She is also interested in and studies how marginalized people, especially black women, are represented in the media. National media outlets including CNN, USA Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Vice interviewed Williams for her social media expertise. She was also named one of NBC BLK’S fierce black feminists you should know. Winner of the 2020-2021 Milton and Sonia Greenberg Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award. Winner of the 2021 PhD Mentor Award from the School of Communication’s Doctoral Program