Jessica Williams, a Robert H. and Clarice Smith Doctoral Fellow while at the University of Maryland, entered the PhD program in 2011 to study African arts with a minor in contemporary art. Jessica graduated with her B.A. degree in English and Art History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010. While an undergraduate, she studied Xhosa, African history and political science at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Her research interests to date include the histories of photography, studies in African visual culture and critical theory. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory through the University of Maryland’s English department and has worked in the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture where she researched and constructed historical and interactive maps of Africa. Her recently completed master’s thesis examines discourses of belonging in South African photographer Thandile Zwelibanzi’s 2010 series, Still Existence. Jessica will continue her graduate studies at Harvard University.
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