African and Afro-American Studies Chair Named

Chad Williams
Photo by Mike Lovett
Chad Williams

In July, historian Chad Williams joined the Brandeis faculty as chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

Before coming to Brandeis, Williams — who specializes in African-American military and political environments of the World War I era — spent six years teaching at Hamilton College, most recently as an associate professor of history. Earlier in his career, he taught at the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s and a doctorate in history at Princeton University.

In 2011, Williams’ book “Torchbearers of Democracy: African-American Soldiers in the World War I Era” won the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History. It was also named a 2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Williams’ colleagues praise his scholarship and his leadership style. “His teaching and research in U.S. and African-American history will provide exciting new opportunities for our students,” says Brandeis arts and sciences dean Susan Birren. “He will be a dynamic new chair for AAAS, and will be interacting with the many departments and programs with shared interests.”

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know everybody at the university and, coming from a liberal arts school such as Hamilton College, to translating my teaching experience to Brandeis,” says Williams, who plans to teach “Introduction to African and Afro-American Studies” during the fall semester. “I’m excited to work with the students.”

Williams succeeds Faith Smith, associate professor of English, who will continue teaching at Brandeis.      

— Debra Filcman