Theater Faculty

Rhaisa Williams

Rhaisa Williams headshot

Photo by Wesley Law


Rhaisa Williams is Assistant Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Williams’ research uses mixed-archive methods—spanning across literature, family history, archives, and public policy—to focus on the intersections of Blackness, motherhood, affect, and disquieting modes of freedom. Currently, she is writing her manuscript, Mama, Don’t You Weep: Motherhood, Blackness, and Performances of Grief, that traces the intimate relationship between grief and Black motherhood from the civil rights movement to the present. Offering discontinuous readings of grief, the book asserts that Black women, no matter their personal relationship to offspring or othermothering, have specifically mobilized grief inherent to Black motherhood as a tactic to perform, remake, and critique forms of citizenship. In 2020, she co-edited a special journal issue on Toni Morrison’s influence on performance studies and adaptation, published through College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies. Williams earned her Ph.D and M.A. in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been supported by the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, and the Mellon, Woodrow Wilson, and Ford foundations. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in College Literature, Transforming Anthropology, Callaloo, and Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly.

Campus Address

Wallace Dance Building W325
Lewis Arts complex
122 Alexander Street

Email Address