Carol Williams is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in Women's Studies; North American and European Women's History; and contemporary Native American women's history. She has taught across Canada and in the United States at the University of Houston (2001-2003) and University of New Mexico (2000). In July 2008 she will take up a tier II Canada Research Chair in Feminism and Gender Studies at Trent University in Peterborough Ontario.
For the past fifteen years, Williams has concentrated on defining questions of visual culture, photography and history. Framing the West: Race, Gender and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford UP 2003), analyzed settler women's roles in nation-building and considered how photographic activity was employed to advance 19thc Euro American settlement. The final chapter focused on the collecting and commissioning practices of Coast and Strait Salish peoples on Vancouver Island between 1862 and 1890, challenging the conventional notion that Euro American ideology dominated the photographic gaze. Framing the West won the 2004 Norris and Carol Hundley book prize awarded by the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.
Williams has published numerous articles and interviews on the cultural activism and contemporary art production of women artists in North America including most recently: "Thrift and Drift: Dagmar Dahle's reveries of nature, culture, class, and loss,"(SAAG 2007) "Muscular tongue, strident assertion: the work of Rebecca Burke," (Owens Art Gallery 2006); "Nation, identity, periphery, and modernity: synthesizing Canada's photographic history" on the photographs of Jin-me Yoon and Marian Penner Bancroft (YYZ 2005) and "Interview with Gitksan First Nations Artist and Activist, Doreen Jensen"(BC Studies 1998). Williams' current undertaking is an edited anthology dedicated to the transnational histories of American Indian and Aboriginal women's labor in the modern era. She is also working on a second monograph on Indigenous women's political activism using oral histories.