- Ph.D., Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), 1973, English (concentration in American literature and intellectual history)
- M.A., Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), 1972, English
- A.B., Washington University (St. Louis), 1969, English
Gary Williams grew up in Billings, Montana, in a working-class family. His research focuses on early 19th century American literature, with particular attention to women writers and European influences on American writing. He has been a member of the English department at the University of Idaho since 1973.
He was chair of the department first from 1986 to 1996 and an inaugural College of Letters and Science Humanities Fellow in 1998-99. In 2007 he was selected as the university's first Distinguished Humanities Professor. He was department chair again from 2009 to 2014, and in 2013-14 he served as an Administrative Fellow in the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences. In fall 2014 he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University.
- 19th century American literature
- Transatlantic literary currents
- 20th/21st century fiction
- Intersections between the humanities and the sciences
Sabbatical leave fall 2014 to study Julia Ward Howe’s transition from poet to rhetorically-sophisticated commentator, lecturer, and preacher. The book will assess the shift in voice within her written work from 1859 to 1872 and will speculate on the sources of the effectiveness she later exhibited as spokesperson for women’s rights.
- The Literary Emergence of Julia Ward Howe (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999)
- The Hermaphrodite by Julia Ward Howe (edition with introduction, University of Nebraska Press, 2004)
- Philosophies of Sex: New Essays on The Hermaphrodite (edited with Renee Bergland). Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012.
- “What Did Margaret Think of George,” in A Female Genealogy of Transcendentalism, eds. Jana Argersinger and Phyllis Cole (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2014). (Part of a larger study of George Sand’s impact on 19th-century American intellectuals.)
- Distinguished Humanities Professor, 2007-08
- University of Idaho Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2001
- Sigma Tau Delta Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, 1999
- Alumni Awards for Excellence in Teaching, 1986, 1988, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012
- ASUI Outstanding Faculty Award, 1980