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Apryl A. Williams is Assistant Professor of Communication & Media and an affiliate of the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan. Williams is also a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a Faculty Fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center, and an affiliated researcher at NYU's Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies. 

As a multidisciplinary scholar, Williams studies the experience of race and racism in digital spaces. In her forthcoming book, Call Me Master: Race, Gender & Algorithmic Inequality, she argues that dating platforms facilitate sexual racism and questions the degree to which dating apps are responsible for negative experiences of marginalized users. This work also interrogates user agency when using match-making algorithms and highlights the experiences of people of color as they navigate the ever-changing social rules that govern online dating. 

Williams' previous work has been published in leading interdisciplinary journals including Social Media + Society, Information, Communication & Society, Ethnicities, the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, the International Journal of Communication, and the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. She also serves as Series Editor of Emerald Studies in Media and Communications where she has co-edited five books on aspects of digital culture such as international media flows, digital inequalities, and digital publics. Her research has also been covered in popular press outlets including Time Magazine, Newsweek, Slate, NPR’s On the Media, and The Guardian.



Are your dating preferences racist?

Apryl Williams shares the ways in which race underlies much of online life.

Jul 1, 2021
Harvard Law Today

Deconstructing the ‘Karen’ meme

Apryl Williams puts memes in historical, cultural context

Feb 3, 2021
Social Media + Society

Black Memes Matter: #LivingWhileBlack With Becky and Karen

Apryl Williams publishes in Social Media + Society

Dec 18, 2020
Museum of the Moving Image

Surveillance of Black Lives

Apryl Williams, Mutale Nkonde, and Allissa V. Richardson speak at event

Jul 16, 2020
BKC Medium Collection

Ken and Karen are White Supremacists

Apryl Williams explains that although memes are humorous, Karens and Kens of the world express a dangerous, audacious kind of White supremacy

Jul 1, 2020

How the 'Karen Meme' Confronts the Violent History of White Womanhood

Apryl Williams discusses the historical context, significance of the ‘Karen Meme’

Jun 25, 2020
Detroit Today

White People: Learn How To Become Better Allies

Apryl Williams discusses how white allies can express solidarity without centering the conversations on themselves.

Jun 11, 2020

What Is the Male Version of a Karen?

Apryl Williams on how to make sense of memes as an act of resistance, and what it means to be a Ken

Jun 9, 2020
On the Media

Boiling Point

Apryl Williams examines the Karen meme and what it tells us about criticism of privilege in the pandemic and Jessie Daniels discusses the history of white women in racial dynamics…

May 29, 2020
The Boston Globe

Facebook’s new dating service is flopping.

BKC fellow Apryl Williams sheds light on online dating and context collapse

Nov 8, 2019


Feb 2, 2021 @ 12:00 PM

White Surveillance and Black Digital Publics

Video & Podcast: A Conversation with Dr. Apryl A. Williams and Dr. Allissa V. Richardson

Video & Podcast: Dr. Apryl A. Williams and Dr. Allissa V. Richardson will address the long-standing history of White vigilante-style surveillance of Black people in public spaces

Apr 29, 2020 @ 2:00 PM

[Virtual] Racial Health Disparities and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Video: Featuring Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde and Dr. Gabe Miller

Video: The most important factors behind racial health disparities, and how they are influencing health and mortality outcomes in the age of COVID-19.