Bianca C. Williams

Bianca C. Williams faculty photo

Research Interests

  • Race and Racism
  • Black Feminisms
  • African Diaspora
  • Emotional Wellness/Affect
  • Equity and Higher Education
  • Feminist Pedagogies and Organizing Practices
  • Transnational Feminisms
  • Tourism
  • U.S. and Caribbean


  • Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
  • M.A., Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
  • Graduate Certificate, African & African American Studies, Duke University
  • B.A., Cultural Anthropology, Duke University

Bianca C. Williams (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, Women & Gender Studies, and Critical Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She earned a graduate certificate in African & African American Studies and her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. Her research interests include Black women, travel, and emotional wellness; race, gender, and equity in higher education; and Black feminist pedagogical and organizing practices.

The investigative thread that binds Williams’ organizing, teaching, and research is the question “How do Black people develop strategies for enduring and resisting the effects of racism and sexism, while attempting to maintain emotional wellness?” In her award-winning book The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2018), Williams argues that pursuing happiness is a political project for Black women, while examining how African American women use travel to Jamaica and the Internet as tools for escaping U.S. racism and sexism.

She is co-editor of Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions: Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education with Dian Squire and Frank Tuitt (SUNY Press, 2021). Additionally, Williams has written about “radical honesty” as feminist inclusive pedagogy in the volume Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment, and published in the journals Souls, Cultural Anthropology, Teachers College Record, and on the blogs Anthrodendum and Anthropoliteia. She is a recipient of the American Anthropological Association & Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. Finally, Williams is Faculty Lead of the PublicsLab at The Graduate Center. Here, she and Director Stacy Hartman encourage graduate students and faculty to think broadly about the utility of public scholarship in a variety of careers, and reimagine doctoral education as a process of wellness and wholeness.

Awards and Grants

  • Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowship, 2021.
  • Nelson Graburn Book Award, Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group, American Anthropological Association, 2019.
  • AAA/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, 2016.

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Association of Black Anthropologists
  • Association for Feminist Anthropology
  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Studies Association
  • National Women’s Studies Association

Courses Taught

  • Public Anthropology and Black Feminist Praxis
  • Reimagining the Humanities for the Good of the Public
  • Affect, Race, & Gender
  • Ethnography of American Blackness(es)
  • Core Theory in Anthropology


  • “Guard Your Heart and Your Purpose: Faithfully Writing Anthropology” in Writing Anthropology: Essays on Craft and Commitment edited by Carole McGranahan, Duke University Press, 2020, pp.246-250. 
  • “Radical Honesty: Truth-telling as Pedagogy for Working Through Shame in Academic Spaces,” in Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment: The Global Relevance of Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies in Higher Education, edited by Frank Tuitt, Chayla Haynes, and Saran Stewart, 2016, pp. 71-82.
  • “’Giving Back’ to Jamaica: Experiencing Community and Conflict while Traveling with Diasporic Heart,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, 2017, 19(1): 24-38.
  • “Introduction #BlackLivesMatter,” Cultural Anthropology series on #BlackLivesMatter: Anti-Black Racism, Police Violence, and Resistance, 2015, author and series editor.
  • “Sitting at the Kitchen Table: Fieldnotes from Women of Color in Anthropology,” Cultural Anthropology, co-authored with Tami Navarro and Attiya Ahmad, 2013, 28(3):443-463. 
  • “Don’t Ride the Bus!’: And other Warnings Women Anthropologists are Given During Fieldwork,” Transforming Anthropology, 2009, 17(2): 155-158.