A specialist in contemporary African American Literature, Dana A. Williams earned her B.A. in English from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA in 1993, her M.A. in 1995 from Howard University, and her Ph.D. in African American Literature from Howard University in 1998. As a recipient of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar award in 1999, she was a visiting research fellow at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL ,where she completed extensive research on her dissertation author Leon Forrest. Before returning to Howard University as a faculty member in 2003, Dr. Williams taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for four years. In 2008-09, she was a faculty fellow at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, and she assumed the chairmanship of the Department in 2009.
In addition to an annotated bibliography, Contemporary African American Female Playwrights: An Annotated Bibliography(Greenwood 1999), which she completed as her Master’s thesis at Howard, Dr. Williams has co-edited August Wilson and Black Aesthetics (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2004) with Sandra G. Shannon, edited African American Humor, Irony, and Satire: Ishmael Reed, Satirically Speaking (Cambridge Scholars, 2007), Conversations with Leon Forrest (UP of Mississippi, 2007), and Contemporary African American Fiction: New Critical Essays (Ohio State UP, 2009). She is also the author of the first and only book-length study on Leon Forrest, In the Light of Likeness—Transformed: The Literary Art of Leon Forrest (Ohio State UP, 2005).
In addition to her book projects, Dr. Williams has published articles in CLA Journal, African American Review, Bulletin of Bibliography, Langston Hughes Review, Zora Neale Hurston Forum, Studies in American Fiction, International Journal of the Humanities, and Profession. She is the past president of the Association of the Departments of English Executive Committee, Chair of the Black American Literature and Culture Forum for the Modern Languages Association, and President of the College Language Association--the oldest and largest professional organization for faculty of color who teach languages and literatures.