Dr Milly Williamson

Milly's interest is the relationship between the media and citizenship and the means by which groups are marginalised.

Staff details


Senior Lecturer, co-convenor of the BA in Anthropology and Media, convenor of the BA in Promotional Media


Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


milly.williamson (@gold.ac.uk)


I co-convene the BA Anthropology and Media and convene the BA Promotional Media. I also teach the following courses: Media Rituals on the BA Media and Communications, and Branding 1 on the MA Brands, Communication and Culture.


I am interested in the relationship between the media and citizenship and the mediated means by which individuals and social groups are either marginalised or validated. My research thus spans key questions of our time – from the growth of racism to the huge rise of promotional content and the growth of celebrity culture in online and offline media.

I am interested in the roles that different forms of promotional media play, both in the media itself and in wider society and culture, and I ask critical questions about the impact of the ubiquity and dominance of promotional material on public life. My research has recently focused on the expanding role of celebrity in shaping media content and underpinning media industries, and it provides a political economy of celebrity across media and cultural industries. The research has identified key moments when celebrity content and celebrity-based marketing and promotional strategies become central planks in the business models of media and entertainment organisations - usually during times of increased commercialisation and competition compounded by the challenges thrown up by new media technology. I am also concerned with questions of exploitation in the media, and the way that inclusive rhetoric around celebrity meritocracy masks deep inequalities in access to, and representation within, the media. I am currently working on a project on Advertising and Celebrity which explores the current growth of advertising and promotions – particularly online – and which examines the convergence of promotional industries and practices, as they adopt the more intangible aspects of celebrity culture in which aesthetic and marketing concerns are collapsed.

I am also co-authoring a book on anti-Muslim racism with Dr Gholam Khiabany entitled Footprints of Empire. This book examines the contemporary rise of anti-Muslim racism across Europe and North America and  its central role in the onward march of authoritarian politics and state formations. It explores the links between new racial politics and broader national and international contexts, including the War on Terror, variations of states of emergency, the hyper-visibility and growth of support for far right political parties, the growing refugee crisis and domestic political and economic crises.  

Areas of Supervision

I am interested in supervising projects on celebrity and promotions; celebrity and gender; celebrity and digital culture; political economy and/or historical approaches to advertising, promotions and celebrity; race gender and anti-Muslim racism.

Publications and research outputs


Williamson, Milly. 2016. Celebrity: Capitalism and the Making of Fame. Cambridge: Polity Press. ISBN 9780745641058

Williamson, Milly. 2011. A Sedução do Vampiro: Gênevo, Ficção e Cultura de Fãs – de Bram Stoker a Buffy. Sao Paulo Brazil: Madras Editora.

Williamson, Milly. 2005. The Lure of the Vampire: Gender, fiction and fandom from Bram Stoker to Buffy. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9781904764403

Edited Book

Hunt, Leon; Lockyer, Sharon and Williamson, Milly, eds. 2014. Screening the undead: Vampires and zombies in film and television. London: I B Tauris. ISBN 1848859244

Edited Journal

Williamson, Milly, ed. 2020. Politics Goes Pop Themed Section, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 17(2).

Williamson, Milly and Amy Chinn, Dee, eds. 2006. European Journal of Cultural Studies Special Issue : The Vampire Spike in Text and Fandom - Unsettling oppositions in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(3). 1367-5494

Book Section

Williamson, Milly. 2022. The Celebrity Selfie: Gender, Race and 'New' Old Ways of Seeing. In: Joanna Zylinkka, ed. The Future of Media. London: Goldsmiths Press, pp. 113-132. ISBN 9781913380144

Williamson, Milly. 2017. Celebrity culture and exploitation: the case of reality TV. In: M Wayne and D O'Neill, eds. Considering Class: theory, culture and the media in the 21st century. New York: Brill and Haymarket Press. ISBN 9004319514

Wiliamson, Milly and Littler, Jo. 2017. Rich TV. Poor TV: Work, Leisure and the Construction of "Deserved Inequality" in Contemporary Britain. In: June Deery and Andrea Press, eds. Media and Class: TV, Film, and Digital Culture. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 146-161. ISBN 9781315387970


Williamson, Milly and Khiabany, Gholam. 2024. The British State, Citizenship Rights and Gendered Folk Devils: The Case of Shamima Begum. European Journal of Cultural Studies, ISSN 1367-5494

Fenton, Natalie; Freedman, Des (D. J.) ; Khiabany, Gholam and Williamson, Milly. 2023. Critiquing the Vocabularies of the Marketized University. Media Theory, 7(1), pp. 277-298. ISSN 2557-826X

Poole, Elizabeth and Williamson, Milly. 2023. Disrupting or reconfiguring racist narratives about Muslims? The representation of British Muslims during the Covid crisis. Journalism, 24(2), pp. 262-279. ISSN 1464-8849

Conference or Workshop Item

Williamson, Milly. 2023. 'Muslim Women, Citizenship and Racism: From the Symbol of Nation to Anti-national Threat'. In: IAMCR 2023. Lyon, France 9 - 13 July 2023.

Williamson, Milly. 2023. 'Infrastructures of Islamophobia and Changing Contexts of Mediated Hate'. In: IAMCR 2023. Lyon, France 9 - 13 July 2023.

Williamson, Milly. 2022. 'Citizenship, Islamophobia and Gendered Othering: The Case of Shamima Begum'. In: ICA Pre-conference: Patriarchal Worlds, Feminist Networks, and the Conjuncture. American University of Paris, France 26 May 2022.


Williamson, Milly. 9 - 18 November 2023 What Are Statue For?.


Williamson, Millicent. 2001. Women and Vampire Fiction: Texts, Fandom and the Construction of Identity. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London


Williamson, Milly. 2023. What Are Statues For? Roundtable. Albany Arts Centre, London.

Williamson, Milly. 2023. What are Statues For? Poetry Workshop. Albany Arts Centre, London.

Williamson, Milly. 2023. What are Statues For? Photography workshop. Albany Arts Centre, London.