Benjamin Railton

English Studies School of Arts and Sciences
Headshot Ben Railton March 1 2021
978.665.4805 Office: Miller Hall 102A
Office Hours
Spring 2024

Monday & Wednesday 9:30-10:45



“I’m interested in all things America: our literature and culture, our histories and stories, our national narratives and myths, our identity and future. I try to teach and think and write about those topics in every way I can, and to share them with my two most important American projects, my teenage sons.

Courses Taught

Writing I (ENGL 1100)
Writing II (ENGL 1200)
American Literature I: Age of Exploration to the Civil War (ENGL 2000)
American Literature II: Civil War to the Present (ENGL 2100)
Ethnic American Literature (ENGL/AAST 2650)
Intro to Science Fiction & Fantasy (2710)
American Novel to 1950 (ENGL 3220)
Major American Writers of the 20th Century (4040)
English Studies Capstone (4999)
American Studies I (AMST 1800)
American Studies II (AMST 1900)
Major Author: W.E.B Du Bois (ENGL 4000)
Major Author: Mark Twain (ENGL 4000)
Senior Seminar: America in the Gilded Age (ENGL 4400)
Honors Seminar in Literature (HON 2100)
American History Fiction, Practice & Theory (Graduate)


Ph.D., Temple University (English, American Literature)
B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Harvard University (American History and Literature)

American historical literature
American ethnic literature
American studies
American identity
Public scholarship
The Gilded Age
Contemporary literature
Science fiction and fantasy literature
21st century America

Exclusion & Inclusion: The Battle to Define America
Black History is American History: Four Figures Who Changed the Story (manuscript in progress)
"Vincent J. Mara Excellence in Teaching Award" Spring 2015
"Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship" Spring 2014
"Two Wrongs and a Right: What the Chinese Exclusion Act Can Teach Us about America," AFLA Food for Thought Lecture, Spring 2015
American Studies Blog
Advisor, American Writers Museum
Editorial Board, Encyclopedia of American Studies

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism (2021). 
We the People: The 500-Year Battle over Who is an American (2019).
History and Hope in American Literature: Models of Critical Patriotism (2016).
The Chinese Exclusion Act: What It Can Teach Us About America (2013).
Redefining American Identity: From Cabeza de Vaca to Barack Obama (2011).
Contesting the Past, Reconstructing the Nation: American Literature and Culture in the Gilded Age, 1876-1893 (2007).

AmericanStudies scholarly blog ( November 2010-present.

Contributor to Saturday Evening Post (current monthly column), Huffington Post, Washington Post’s Made by History blog, Talking Points Memo, We’re History, The Conversation, The American Prospect, and many other websites.

ASA American Studies Association
ALA American Literature Association
NEASA New England American Studies Association
NeMLA Northeast Modern Language Association
MLA Modern Language Association
SSN Scholars Strategy Network