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Shannen Dee Williams

Associate Professor of History

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Shannen Williams
Phone: 937-229-2848


  • She/Her/Hers


Dr. Shannen Dee Williams is Associate Professor of History at the University of Dayton. She is an award-winning scholar of the African American experience and Black Catholicism with research and teaching specializations in women’s, religious and Black freedom movement history. Her first book, Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle, was named a top five book published in religion by Publishers' Weekly in 2022. It also received the 2022 Letitia Woods Brown Award for Best Book in African American Women's History from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Dr. Williams holds a B.A. in history with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors from Agnes Scott College, a M.A. in Afro-American studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University.

The first Black woman elected to the Executive Council of the American Catholic Historical Association, Dr. Williams is a co-founder the Fleming-Morrow Endowment in African American History at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In 2020, Williams also submitted successful proposals to establish the Mother Mary Lange Lecture in Black Catholic History at Villanova University and the Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. Prize through the American Catholic Historical Association and the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.

A lifelong Catholic, Dr. Williams authored the award-winning column, The Griot’s Cross, for the Catholic New Service from 2020 to 2022.

Selected publications

Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle (Duke University Press, May 2022)