Kim D. Hester Williams

Professor, Literature

Kim D. Hester Williams
Kim D. Hester Williams


(707) 664-3136


Nichols Hall 340

Office Hours

1:00 pm-3:00 pm
12:00 pm-1:00 pm And by appointment

Advising Area


What I Do at SSU

I primarily teach nineteenth-century American literature courses on American Romanticism, American Transcendentalism, the Literature of Slavery and Freedom, American Gothic and Horror in Literature and Film, and author courses on Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lydia Maria Child, Ralph W. Emerson, Henry D. Thoreau, Herman Melville and Toni Morrison. I also teach African American literature, from the early to the contemporary period. Additionally, I am an affiliate faculty member in the American Multicultural Studies department where I teach courses in Ethnic Literature, African American literature and culture, and Language and Ethnicity as well as Film Studies and Women and Gender Studies. I enjoy incorporating visual narrative into many of my classes. Two of my favorite courses--and a popular one for students—is an author course on “Herman Melville and Toni Morrison” (ENGL 483 - American Authors) and “Race, Difference, and Science Fiction” (AMCS 360 - Ethnic Literature)


Kim Hester Williams' scholarly research concerns racial representation in nineteenth-century literature and contemporary popular culture and visual representations of race in film and new media.

Dr. Hester Williams is co-editor of a collection of interdisciplinary essays on race and environment, Racial Ecologies (2018). The book collection includes a chapter she authored titled, "Earthseeds of Change: Post-Apocalyptic Mythmaking, Race, and Ecology in The Book of Eli and Octavia Butler’s Womanist Parables.”  She has also published essays on the representation of race, gender and economy in new media, popular culture, and film. Her current scholarship considers race, ecology, and Afro-eco-poetics with particular attention to the work of science fiction writer Octavia Butler. Additionally, Dr. Hester Williams serves as a consultant for Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers. Her analysis on media, gender, and race has been cited in numerous essays and on blog websites as well as referenced in books including Mixed Raced HollywoodThe Films of Stephen KingHorror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present, and Black Men Worshipping: Intersecting Anxieties of Race, Gender, and Christian Embodiment. Her essays have been taught in courses at the University of Washington, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Cal Poly in a Media Studies graduate course, and included in a course, "Post-Colonial Perspectives on Audiovisual Media," at the Stockholm University department of Cinema Studies.

Dr. Hester Williams’ current book monograph, Minstrel Acts: Black Pain and White Redemption in the American Imagination, examines the historical trajectory of the "magical negro" figure from Harriet Beecher Stowe's best-selling nineteenth-century novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, to contemporary twentieth and twenty-first century popular representations of the "the magic negro," most notably in the novels of Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jonathan Lethem, as well as in films featuring Denzel Washington and Will Smith, Black Panther, and G.O.A.T. sports figure Serena Williams. Throughout the book, she explores the dialectical relationship between the commodification and consumption of “blackness” and the ongoing persistence of the ideology of “white" supremacy.

In addition to her scholarly work, she writes poetry which is feminist-centered and grounded in the long tradition of African American womanist poetics.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Nishime, L., & Hester Williams, K., eds. (2018) Racial Ecologies. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Hester-Williams, Kim D., “‘In Memoriam: Robert Coleman-Senghor, 1940-2011,” Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Ethnic Studies, Volume 4 (2) (Fall 2017): 315-324.

Hester-Williams, Kim D., “‘Fix My Life’: Oprah, Post-Racial Economic Dispossession, and the Precious Transfiguration of PUSH,” Cultural Dynamics, 26 (1) (March 2014): 53-71.

Hester-Williams, Kim D, “Eminem, Masculine Striving, and the Dangers of Possessive Individualism,” Genders 46 (Fall 2007) 

Hester-Williams, Kim D, “(Neo)Slaves: Slavery and African American Apotheosis in The Matrix and CandyMan,” Genders 40, Special edition: “Scared of the Dark: Race, Gender and the ‘Horror Film’” (Fall 2004) 


WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH/W.O.L.M (Work of Literary Merit): Octavia Butler’s Kindred

Lecture Title: “‘Beta Days and Gamma People’: Afro-Eco-Poetics, New WorldMaking, and Womanist Speech Sounds in Octavia Butler’s Post-Apocalyptic Imagination”

Selected Scholarship

Book Monograph and Journal Essay (in progress)

Minstrel Acts: Black Pain and White Redemption in the American Liberal Imagination

“‘I want Sherley Anne to Set this to Music”: The Sublime Afro-Ecopoetics of Sherley Anne Williams”

(essay for Callaloo, A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters—special issue on Sherley Anne Williams)