About Me

I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m also a recipient of the 2020 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Broadly speaking, I study American literature of the long 19th century (circa 1830-1905). My research focuses on literature and literary history in relation to race, critical theory, and the social and human sciences.

My dissertation centers on American and African American literature, race, and depictions of crowd violence and “crowd psychology” (or crowd science) throughout the 19th century. Considering novels, stories, and essays in tandem with scientific discourse, I look at how different modes of representation attempted to make sense of group behavior, especially as this group behavior was filtered through discourses of race and racism. This ongoing project has been supported by several fellowships, and 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 American south.

I’m also interested in contemporary fiction, the environmental humanities, and speculative fiction (especially horror, fantasy, and science fiction).

My peer-reviewed articles appear in, or are forthcoming at:

  • 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, and writing & composition. In total I’ve been the instructor of record for 8 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 at UNC, I’ve been fortunate to receive three teaching awards for this work, 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 quite clearly delightful.

Contact Ben