Linda Williams

Professor Emerita

Linda Williams teaches courses on popular moving-image genres (pornography, melodrama, and “body genres” of all sorts). She has also taught courses on Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee, Luis Bunuel and Pedro Almodovar, melodrama, film theory, selected “sex genres,” and The Wire. Her books include a psychoanalytic study of Surrealist cinema, Figures of Desire (1981), a co-edited volume of feminist film criticism (Re-vision, 1984), an edited volume on film spectatorship, Viewing Positions (1993) and Reinventing Film Studies (co-edited with Christine Gledhill, 2000). In 1989 she published a study of pornographic film entitled Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (second edition 1999). This study of moving-image pornography looks seriously at the history and form of an enormously popular genre. In 1999 Williams received a Guggenheim Fellowship for research on her 2001 Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White, from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson (2001, Princeton)–an analysis of racial melodrama spanning the 19th and 20th centuries of American culture. She has also edited a collection of essays on pornography, Porn Studies, featuring work by many U.C. Berkeley graduate students (Duke, 2004). Her most recent book is Screening Sex (Duke, 2008), a history of the revelation and concealment of sex at the movies. She received Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004 and in 2011 was appointed Faculty Research Lecturer. She is currently researching a book on HBO’s The Wire

PhD (Film Studies), University of Colorado

Research interests: 

Film history and genre
Melodrama and pornography
Feminist theory
Visual culture



(510) 642-2174
7329 Dwinelle Hall, Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30 - 4:30


Linda Williams
Book, 2014
Linda Williams
Book, 2008
Linda Williams
Edited Volume, 2005
Linda Williams
Edited Volume, 2000
Linda Williams
Edited Volume, 1994
Linda Williams
Edited Volume, 1984