Terrion L Williamson

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852 Social Sciences .
267 19th Ave So

Terrion Williamson is an associate professor of African American & African Studies with appointments in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and American Studies. Her research and teaching specializations include black feminist theory, twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature, black cultural studies, media studies, and racialized gender violence. Her first book, Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life, uses her experiences growing up in the small midwestern city of Peoria, Illinois as the staging ground for a study of how poor and working-class black women upend foregoing notions of black female representation and consequently circumvent the constraints of stereotype discourse in the making of alternative black communal formations and kinship networks. Her current book project, which builds upon work started in the last chapter of Scandalize My Name, is a victim-centered study of the more than 60 cases throughout the U.S. in which black women have been the sole or primary targets of serial killers since the 1970s.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California.
  • M.A.: American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California.
  • J.D.: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • B.A.: African American Studies and English, University of Illinois at Chicago.


  • Contemporary African-American literature
  • Black cultural studies
  • Feminist theory
  • Midwest studies
  • Racialized gender violence
Courses Taught
  • AFRO 1911: Black Reality Television
  • AMST 3253W: American Popular Culture & Politics, 1940 to the present
  • AFRO/ENGL 3592W: Black Women Writers in the U.S.
  • AFRO/GWSS 4406: Black Feminist Thought
  • GWSS 8260: Race, Representation & Resistance
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Director of Undergraduate Studies: African American & African Studies , 2019 - present
  • Director: Black Midwest Initiative , 2017 - present
  • What Does That Make You? Public Narration and the Serial Murders of Black Women: Williamson, Terrion, Verso, Where Freedom Starts: Sex, Power, Violence, #MeToo: A Verso Report, 33-39, 2018. Link
  • Why Did They Die? On Comabee and the Serialization of Black Death: Williamson, Terrion, Souls, 19 328-41, July-September 2017.
  • Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life. Williamson, Terrion, Fordham University Press, Author, 2017. Link
  • Coming Up 'Down the Hill' on Peoria's South Side: Williamson, Terrion, Belt Magazine, 2016. Link
  • Bla(n)ckness and the Illogics of Black Teenage Motherhood: Williamson, Terrion, CR: The New Centennial Review, 16 97-122, Fall 2016.
  • Who Is Killing Us: Williamson, Terrion, State University of New York Press, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith , 65-71, 2014. Link
  • McKnight Presidential Fellow Award, University of Minnesota, 2019
  • IDEA Multicultural Research Award, University of Minnesota, 2019
  • Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University, 2016
  • Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant, Michigan State University, 2015
  • Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Research Council, 2013
  • American Summer Research Publication Grant, American Association of University Women, 2012
  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, National Research Council, 2009