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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Ashley Williard

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Languages, Literatures and Cultures
College of Arts and Sciences
Office: J. Welsh Humanities Bldg, 618
Resources: Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


After completing her PhD in French at the City University of New York Graduate Center (2015), Dr. Ashley Williard recently joined the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures as an Assistant Professor of French Cultural Studies.
Her interdisciplinary research examines representations of difference in the early-modern French Atlantic world. Her current book project, entitled Engendering Islands, analyzes the ways missionaries, officials, adventurers, and travelers deployed and transformed metropolitan tropes of femininity and masculinity in the seventeenth-century Caribbean. In close textual readings of archival and narrative sources, Dr. Williard shows the ways in which gender played a central role in defining colonial others, male and female, and contributed to emerging notions of racial difference that justified slavery and colonial domination, thus setting the stage for centuries of French imperialism. Based on archival research in the Caribbean, France, and the United States, she has essays published or forthcoming in English and French.
Dr. Williard teaches courses on French language as well as French-speaking cultures, history, and literature. Before coming to South Carolina, she taught French and contributed to writing pedagogy and digital learning initiatives on several campuses of the City University of New York. She is particularly enthusiastic about incorporating new media into her courses and expanding her interest in digital humanities through her teaching and research at USC.