About Me

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Broadly speaking, I study US literature, race, region, and science in the long 19th century (circa 1830-1930). In particular, I focus on African American and multiethnic literature in relation to the history of so-called “racial science.” I’m also interested in researching and teaching about the US South and the Black Atlantic, Medical Humanities, Environmental Humanities, and speculative fiction and film.

My dissertation centers on the racial politics and aesthetics of crowds and crowd violence. Primarily, I analyze literature written by Black and White American authors whose work spans the early 19th century to the early 20th century. Considering novels, stories, and essays in tandem with scientific discourse, I look at how writers attempted to represent and make sense of group behavior, especially as this behavior was filtered through discourses of race and racism. This ongoing project has been supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, as well as several other competitive fellowships and awards. You can read more about it on my Research Page.

Related to my dissertation research, I contribute to UNC’s Red Record Project, a collaborative website that is working to document and map lynchings that occurred in the area of the former Confederacy.

My peer-reviewed articles are published in several journals, including:

  • American Literature
  • Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Cultures

Additional writing, including essays, reviews, and interviews, appears with: ASAP/J; boundary2o; The Carolina Quarterly; Chicago Review of Books; Full Stop; Gulf Coast; The Millions; Pedagogy and American Literary Study (PALS); PopMatters; symploke. For links to all the above work, see my Writing Page.

As a graduate instructor, I regularly teach undergraduate courses in literature, film, the Medical Humanities, and writing & composition. In total, I’ve been the instructor of record for 10 undergraduate courses. I’ve also served as a Teaching Assistant, a Research Consultant, and a tutor in various capacities. Over the course of my six years with students at UNC, I’ve been fortunate to receive three teaching awards, including the Tanner Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest recognition available to graduate instructors at UNC-Chapel Hill.

I’ve also served in several editorial positions. Currently, I’m an editorial assistant for American Literature, published out of Duke University Press. Previously I spent several years as Book Reviews editor for The Carolina Quarterly (out of UNC). And while an undergraduate, I was the editor-in-chief of my college’s literary magazine, The Lanthorn, out of Houghton College (Houghton, NY).  

This is my dog, who is lazy but, as you can clearly see, also quite delightful.

Contact Ben