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Kiana Nadonza Williams

Kiana Nadonza Williams profile picture
  • Title: Graduate Student (Anthropology)
  • Additional Title: Graduate Employee (WGSS)
  • Phone: 541-346-5109
  • Office: 331 Hendricks Hall
  • Office Hours: Fall 2018: Wednesdays 2:00-4:00 PM or by appointment
  • Affiliated Departments: Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Adviser: Philip Scher
  • Interests: Beauty pageantry, Philippines, gender, nationalisms and transnationalisms, cultural politics of beauty, globalization, media, cultural heritage, popular culture.
  • Website: Website


B.A. Anthropology, B.A. Women Gender & Sexuality, Concentration in Media Studies, University of Virginia (2015)


Kiana Nadonza Williams is a cultural anthropologist whose research focus is in the Philippines and Filipino diaspora, with primary interests in beauty pageantry, identity, media, postcolonial theory, and the cultural politics of beauty. Her master’s research examines how the Philippines’ participation in local and international beauty pageant practices relate to construction of transnational identities, as well as how the country has utilized pageantry to position itself as a serious contender in the face of globalization. 

Prior to joining the Anthropology department as a graduate student, Kiana worked in museum special projects at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection and refugee resettlement services at the International Rescue Committee, both in Charlottesville, VA. Prior to her research in the Philippines, her fieldwork primarily focused on indigenous communities at intersection with cultural autonomy in Madre de Dios, Peru and Pastaza, Ecuador.