Eric Lewis Williams

Director of the Office of Black Church Studies; Assistant Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies
108C Gray
  • Ph.D. in Religious Studies (University of Edinburgh)
  • M.Div. (Duke Divinity)
  • M.A.T.S. (McCormick Theological Seminary)
  • B.A. (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Eric Lewis Williams is the director of the Office of Black Church Studies and assistant professor of theology and Black Church studies. He previously served as curator of religion for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and lead researcher in the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life.

Williams earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He is an alumnus of Duke Divinity School, earning his M.Div. in 2005, and he is also a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary (M.A.T.S.), and the University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A.). He is an ordained minister in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), and in addition to his active congregational participation and frequent preaching invitations, he has worked closely with the COGIC Scholars’ Fellowship to stimulate academic scholarship among COGIC members. 

At the Smithsonian, Williams curated the museum’s first exhibition devoted solely to religion, “Spirit in the Dark: Religion in Black Music, Activism, and Popular Culture.” His current research examines the many ways that religious beliefs and cultural practices of African peoples in the West have helped to shape their moral development, political aspirations, and social engagement. His teaching and research, with a foundation in the disciplines of American religious history and Black Christian thought, has explored interdisciplinary theological approaches to both learning opportunities and program development.