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Assistant Professor

University of Central Oklahoma

Office Hours

Spring 2019 

MF 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. (Virtual) 

TR 12:45-1:45 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m., W 10 a.m.-12 p.m., or by appointment (Face-to-Face)


Jesse Williams, Jr., Ph.D., is an assistant professor of English at UCO. He earned a B.A. in English (2003) from East Tennessee State University, M.A. in Screenwriting and Film Studies (2005) and MFA in Screenwriting (2006) from Hollins University, and Ph.D. in English from Middle Tennessee State University (2013). His dissertation, He’s Gotta Have It All: The Commercial Impulse in the 21st-Century Spike Lee Joint, examines four films Lee released between 1999 and 2008 in light of his pre-1999 career as a filmmaker and public figure, a juxtaposition that reveals a post-1999 change in Lee’s approach to exploring racial identity, revisiting and revising US history, experimenting with cinematic technique and film genre, and employing emphatic didacticism to teach audience members: his twenty-first-century films focus on predominantly white characters in pivotal moments of New York history and/or places multiethnic characters in nontraditional roles in traditional genre pictures.

Williams’s subsequent work on Spike Lee is forthcoming in College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies, featured on the cover of The Journal of Popular Film and Television (Apr. 2015), and appears in Living Legacies: Literary Responses to the Civil Rights Movement (Routledge, 2018). Likewise, Williams’s work on Alejandro G. Inàrritu’s The Revenant and Indigenous American literatures appears in Literature/Film Quarterly (Spring 2018). Williams currently is working on 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. As his dissertation, scholarship, and current projects suggest, Williams’s research interests focus 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 genres.

Williams has taught concurrent composition, and he has extensive experience teaching composition, surveys of US literature, and workshops in screenwriting at the community college level. As university faculty, Williams has significant experience teaching composition online, special topics courses such as colonial American literature and culture, popular genre fiction, and African American literature.  

Williams stopped and started engaging with social media multiple times during the 2016 presidential campaign and retired altogether after the election. You can now find him on Podbean commenting on podcasts about 1970s and ’80s Southern rasslin’, and on YouTube, watching clips of head banging and drum beating dogs. 

Classes Taught

ENG 1113 English Composition

ENG 1213 English Composition & Research (online)

ENG 2883 American Literature Since 1865

ENG 3990 Advanced Topics in English: African American Literary Tradition

ENG 4823 Ethnic American Literature

CSDY 4/5523 Screenwriting

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