Eric Lewis Williams

Director of the Office of Black Church Studies; Assistant Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies

Office

108C Gray

Degrees

  • 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.

News and Stories

New Divinity Faculty Lead Houses of Study

The Very Rev. Timothy Kimbrough, Jack and Barbara Bovender Professor of the Practice of Anglican Studies will direct the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies; and the Rev. Dr. Eric Lewis Williams, assistant professor of theology and Black Church studies will direct the Office of Black Church Studies.

Williams to Direct the Office of Black Church Studies

Williams, who currently serves as curator of religion for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, will assume the role on July 1.

Eric Lewis Williams, M.Div. '05, Curates Faith Exhibit for Smithsonian

“Spirit in the Dark: Religion in Black Music, Activism and Popular Culture” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture highlights the religion and resiliency of Black Americans.