Dr Milly Williamson

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer, co-convenor of the BA in Anthropology and Media, convenor of the BA in Promotional Media
Email 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. 2017. Liberalism, Gender and Race. In: A Abraham-Hamanoiel; Des (D. J.) Freedman; Gholam Khiabany; Kate Nash and Julian Petley, eds. Liberalism in Neo-liberal Times: Dimensions, Contradictions, Limits. London: Goldsmiths Press. ISBN 9781906897406

Williamson, Milly. 2013. Celebrity, Gossip, Privacy and Scandal. In: C Carter; L Steiner and L McLaughlin, eds. The Routledge companion to media and gender. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138849129

Hunt, Leon; Lockyer, Sharon and Williamson, Milly. 2013. Introduction: Sometimes they come back: The vampire and zombie on screen. In: Leon Hunt; Sharon Lockyer and Milly Williamson, eds. Screening the undead: Vampires and zombies in film and television. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781848859241

Williamson, Milly. 2013. Let them all in: The evolution of the ‘sympathetic’ vampire. In: Milly Williamson; L Hunt and S Lockyer, eds. Screening the undead: Vampires and zombies in film and television. London: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781848859234

Khiabany, Gholam and Williamson, Milly. 2012. Terror, culture and anti-Muslim racism. In: Des (D. J.) Freedman and Daya Kishan Thussu, eds. Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives. London: Sage, pp. 134-150. ISBN 9781446201589

Williamson, Milly and Khiabany, Gholam. 2011. Muslim women and veiled threats: From 'civilizing mission' to 'clash of civilisations'. In: J. Petley and R Richardson, eds. Pointing the finger: Islam and Muslims in the British media. London: One World Publications. ISBN 9781851688128

Williamson, Milly. 2009. Buffy the vampire slayer. In: D Lavery, ed. The Essential Cult TV Reader. Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press, pp. 60-67. ISBN 9780813150208

Williamson, Milly. 2004. Vampire transformations: From gothic demon to domestication. In: Meg Barker and Peter Day, eds. Vampires: Myths and metaphors of enduring evil. Oxford: Learning Solutions.

Williamson, Milly. 2001. Vampires and goths: Fandom, gender and cult dress. In: William J. F. Keenan, ed. Dressed to impress: Looking the part. Oxford: Berg. ISBN 9781859734605

Williamson, Milly. 2001. Vampires and the gendered body. In: Nick Watson and Stephen Cunningham-Burley, eds. Reframing the body. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 96-112. ISBN 978-0-333-77448-9


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

Williamson, Milly. 2020. Feminism, celebrity and the question of agency in neoliberal times. Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 17(2), pp. 326-334.

Wiliamson, Milly. 2017. Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have had her work cut out in 2017. The Conversation/The Independent,

Khiabany, Gholam and Williamson, Milly. 2015. Free speech and the market state: Race, media and democracy in new liberal times. European Journal of Communication, 30(5), pp. 571-586. ISSN 0267-3231

Williamson, Milly. 2014. Liberalism is not Friend of Gender Equality’. Open Democracy,

Williamson, Milly. 2014. The British Media, the Veil and the Limits of Freedom. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 7(1), pp. 64-81. ISSN 1873-9857

Williamson, Milly. 2012. When 'Popular' was 'Radical': The mass circulation US press in the 1890s, emerging celebrity journalism, and popular taste. Media History, 18(2), pp. 115-127. ISSN 1368-8804

Williamson, Milly and Khiabany, Gholam. 2011. State, culture and anti-Muslim racism. Global Media and Communication, 7(3), pp. 170-179. ISSN 1742-7665

Williamson, Milly and Khiabany, Gholam. 2010. The veil and the politics of racism. Race & Class, 52(2), pp. 85-96. ISSN 0306-3968

Wiliamson, Milly. 2010. Female celebrities and the media: The gendered denigration of the 'ordinary' celebrity. Celebrity Studies, 1(1), pp. 118-120. ISSN 1939-2397

Khiabany, Gholam and Williamson, Milly. 2008. Veiled bodies - naked racism: Culture, politics and race in the Sun. Race and Class: a journal of racism, empire and globalisation, 50(2), pp. 69-88. ISSN 0306-3968

Williamson, Milly. 2007. Television, vampires, and the body: Somatic pathos. Intensities: Journal of Cult Media, 4(1),

Amy-Chinn, Dee and Williamson, Milly. 2005. Introduction: The vampire Spike in text and fandom: Unsettling oppositions in Buffy the vampire slayer. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(3), pp. 275-288. ISSN 1367-5494

Williamson, Milly. 2005. Spike, sex and subtext: Intertextual portrayals of the sympathetic vampire on cult television. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(3), pp. 289-311. ISSN 1367-5494


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