Dr Paul Williams
University of Exeter, Department of English
Fellow Of The Higher Education Academy
Member Of The British Association Of American Studies
Postal Address: Dept. Of English, University Of Exeter, Queen’s Building, Queen’s Drive, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom, EX4 4QH
Telephone: 01392 264257
Biography and Research Interests
Biography: Paul Williams is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature in the Department of English at the University of Exeter. He finished his PhD in 2005 and subsequently filled a variety of teaching roles, notably Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Plymouth. He has been at the University of Exeter since 2008, first as a Teaching Fellow, and as a Lecturer since Sept. 2010.
Research Interests: Paul Williams has published articles on Vietnam War films, Langston Hughes and the Cold War, hip-hop and the War on Terror, and the politics of visual culture in Starship Troopers. He is the co-editor of The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts (UP Miss, 2010) and the author of Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds (Liverpool UP, 2011). His latest book is an introduction to the work of Paul Gilroy, which is being published in the Routledge Critical Thinkers series in December 2012.
Paul’s future work will look at the rise of the graphic novel from c.1975 to the early 1980s, exploring how the term ‘graphic novel’ became a way to market and label long-length comic texts in this period. This project will explore how the language of literary criticism was used to explain the experimentation of graphic novelists, and how the production of expensive book collections of comics was meant to solicit an adult readership distinct from the younger readers at whom mainstream comic publishing was aimed. While the focus is on the graphic novels of the USA, Canada, and the UK, the way that comic publishing in the Anglophone world was influenced by the credibility of Francophone comic culture will also be analysed, especially the idea of the ‘album’ as a way to republish comic texts.
Key Topics: The graphic novel of the 1970s and early 1980s; comics and literary respectability; theories of race, ethnicity, and representation; critical theories of the Cold War and the War on Terror; politics and American hip-hop, 2001 to 2008; science fiction film and literature, especially future-war fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction.
Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds, 2011, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts (with James Lyons), 2010,Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
Chapters and Articles
‘Introduction: In the Year 3794’ (co-written with James Lyons), The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts, ed. Paul Williams and James Lyons, 2010,Jackson,MS: University Press of Mississippi, xi-xxiv.
‘Questions of “Contemporary Women’s Comics”,’ The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts, ed. Paul Williams and James Lyons, 2010,Jackson,MS: University Press of Mississippi, 135-149.
‘“A Purely American Tale”: The Tragedy of Racism and Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth as Great American Novel,’ The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts, ed. Paul Williams and James Lyons, 2010,Jackson,MS: University Press ofMississippi, 194-209.
Conference Papers and Talks
Chaired a roundtable discussion on ‘The Place of Comics on the English Degree,’ Third Annual International Comics Conference, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, 28-29 June 2012.
‘Negotiating Canons of Discrimination in Chris Ware’s Great American Graphic Novel,’ American Imagetext conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 17-19 June 2011.
‘The Great American (Graphic) Novel? Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan,’ Graphic Novels and Comics Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, 12-14 Apr. 2010.
‘Respectability and Experimentation in the Early American Comic Strip: Rethinking the 1900s vs. the 1910s,’ South West American Studies Forum,University of Plymouth, Plymouth, 16 May 2009.
‘The Great American (Graphic) Novel? War, Racism, History and Ennui in Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan,’ British Association of American Studies Annual Conference, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, 16-19 Apr. 2009.
‘To Be Frank: Allegories of Capitalism in the Comics of Jim Woodring,’ British Association of American Studies Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh,Edinburgh, 27-30 Mar. 2008.