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Jesse Williams

Assistant Professor

Languages & Literature


  • Ph.D. in English, Middle Tennessee State University, 2013
  • MFA in Screenwriting, Hollins University, 2006
  • M.A. in Screenwriting & Film Studies, Hollins University, 2005
  • B.A. in English, East Tennessee State University, 2003
  • General A.A., Pellissippi State Technical Community College, 2002
Jesse Williams, Jr. will join the Department of Languages and Literature at APSU in August 2020. As community college and university faculty, he has taught dual enrollment freshman writing, and he has extensive experience teaching freshman writing both face to face and online, as well as introduction to literature, surveys of American literature, and workshops in screenwriting. In addition, Williams has taught special topics courses in colonial American literature and culture, popular genre fiction, and the canon of Toni Morrison and courses such as ethnic American literatures, television writing, senior capstone, and introduction to graduate studies.
Williams's scholarship focuses on intersections of post-classical US cinema and (white) American, African American, and Indigenous American literary traditions, as well as the boundaries of film and literary genre. His work on the films of Spike Lee is forthcoming in College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies (Summer 2020), included in Living Legacies: Literary Responses to the Civil Rights Movement (Routledge, 2018), and featured on the cover of The Journal of Popular Film and Television (Apr. 2015). Likewise, Williams's work on Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant and Indigenous American literatures appears in Literature/Film Quarterly (Spring 2018). Williams is currently working on a series of essays that views various Spike Lee Joints alongside literature by the likes of Hannah Webster Foster, Washington Irving, Bret Harte, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and August Wilson.
Williams stopped and started engaging with social media multiple times during the 2016 presidential campaign and has since retired altogether. You can now find him on Podbean, listening to podcasts about 1970s and '80s Southern rasslin, and sharing memories of the good ole days, when the babyfaces were babyfaces, the heels were heels, and all of the fans knew the difference.
  • Literature and film
  • African American literature
  • pre-20th-C. American literature
  • "Who's Next?: Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and American (Literary) History." College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies 47.3 (Summer 2020)
  • "'I Will Be Right Here': The Revenant's (Native) American Vision of Survival and Permanence." Literature/Film Quarterly 46.2 (Spring 2018), n. pag.
  • "Gettin' Ready to Ride into History': Spike Lee's Get on the Bus and Sites of Memory." Living Legacies: Literary Responses to the Civil Rights Movement (New York: Routledge, 2018), pp. 129-44.
  • "Deeds Not Words: The Battle Cry of Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna." With Laura Dubek. Journal of Popular Film and Television 43.2 (Apr. 2015), pp. 83-91.