Author Tags: Photography, Women

Carol J. Williams was active in artist-run centres and organizations in Vancouver including "WORKSITE" and the Association for Noncommercial Culture between 1982-1989. She has a Ph.D in American History and Women's History from Rutgers University (New Jersey) and worked across Canada as an itinerant scholar between 1989-2001 including stints at SFU, UNBC, ECCIAD and the University of Saskatchewan. She also worked as an artist and writer on women artists and feminism in Canadian art from 1985-1989. She was a postdoctoral fellow in Women's 'Studies teaching Native American women's history at University of Houston between 2001-2003 and taught women's studies and history at the University of Lethbridge before accepting a position for 2003-2004 as a Baylor University Oral History Institute Fellow. She worked for 13 years as a waitress (1971-1984).

Williams' study of race, gender and photography in the Pacific Northwest entitled Framing the West almost exclusively concerns British Columbia. It omits the photography of C.D. Hoy, early Japanese Canadian photographers and any mention of Daniel Francis's somewhat similar study entitled Copying People 1860-1940, or David Mattison's Camera Workers, or Thomas Allen's 'Photography of the Indian' in B.C. Studies. George Dawson is criticized for 'an imperious sense of entitlement--his right to record everything' while there isn't reciprocal criticism of Hannah Maynard's manipulation of 'Haida Mary, Hannah Maynard's washerwoman.' The photography of Hannah and Richard Maynard is most widely represented. There isn't a bibliography or a list of suggested readings to alert the reader to the existence of The Magic Box, the preceding study of Hannah Maynard's work and life that was published by Claire Weissman Wilks in 1980. Among Williams' colonial subjects are Richard Maynard (active 1862-1893), Hannah Maynard (active 1862-1912), Charles Gentile (active 1863-1866), Frederick Dally (active 1866-1870), George Fardon (active 1860-1872), Stephen Spencer (active 1858-1883) and Oregon C. Hastings (active 1874-1899).

DATE OF BIRTH: 20/10/1956


ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1971-1999 (with some itinerancy-all departures for employment or education)

EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: Professor of history and women's studies

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Framing the West: Race, Gender, and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest


Framing the West: Race, Gender and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest (New York: Oxford University, 2003) ISBN 0-19-514652-2


Lerner Scott Dissertation Award in Women's HIstory for Framing the West (in dissertation form) from the Organization of American Historians, 2000.

American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch, Norris and Carol Hundley Award, 2004

[BCBW 2004] "Women" "Photography"


Framing the West: Race, Gender and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford University Press, NY: 2003—isbn #0-19-514652-2 pbk- 53 halftones) by Carol Williams is the 2004 winner of the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch, Norris and Carol Hundley Award. The prize, endowed by historian of the American west Prof. Emeritus Norris Hundley, is given “annually for the most distinguished book on any historical subject submitted by a scholar who resides within the twenty-two western states or two Canadian provinces from which the branch draws its membership. It is offered for both first and subsequent books and to young as well as mature scholars.” This year’s prize was adjudicated by historians Peggy Pascoe (UOregon); Christopher Friday (Western Washington University) and James Gump (USanDiego).

Photography has long served the pursuit of history primarily as illustration, as embellishment for an unfurling historical narrative. This limited use of photography, Williams argues in Framing the West, severely confines our understanding of how photography constructed cultural and racial difference between settlers and First Nations, effectively emptying the photographic artifacts of the imperial, commercial, and anthropological motivations behind their creation. The photographic work of northwest coast photographers such as Hannah and Richard Maynard, Stephen Spencer, Benjamin Leeson, and Frederick Dally, among others, is considered as are unique indigenous uses of photography from 1862 to 1890. As Williams determines, Nuu-chah-nulth, Coast Salish, and Straits Salish people incorporated photography into daily and ceremonial life to forcefully counter prevailing stereotypes produced by commercial images of “Indian life.”

Carol Williams is currently Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies Program and the department of History at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta where she specializes in American and Women’s History. Over the past fourteen years she has taught at UNBC, Capilano College, Simon Fraser University, and North Island College.