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Durham University

The Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies

Erin Johnson Williams

Erin Johnson-Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at Durham University. Her research interests include nineteenth-century British music and visual culture, Empire and education, and the relationship of musical institutions to colonial and imperial culture.
Erin received her PhD from Yale University, which examined the role of Empire and authority in constructions of musical education within late nineteenth-century Britain. Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the Walter L. Arnstein Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies by the Midwest Victorian Studies Association. Previously, she received postgraduate and undergraduate degrees from Cambridge and Otago Universities respectively. Prior to working at Durham, Erin was a lecturer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, and was also a Visiting Research Associate to the interdisciplinary ERC-funded project ‘Music in London 1800-1851’ at King’s College London, for which she organised an interdisciplinary conference entitled ‘Sonic Spaces: Music and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century London’.
Ongoing research projects include examining how constructions of the Imperial Archive have influenced the writing of music histories. An upcoming book will examine structures of class, music and discipline in late-Victorian society, while articles on the history of missionary music as a means of control in nineteenth-century South Africa are currently in progress. In her spare time, Erin avidly sings American shape-note music.