Ben Wright

Ben Wright

Associate Professor — History
Tags: Humanities HIST RELS

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - History
Rice University - 2014
M.A. - American Studies
Columbia University - 2008
B.A. - History and Secondary Education
Bethel University - 2006

Research Areas

United States History
Slavery and Abolition
History of Religion
U.S. and the World
Digital Humanities


History Can Be Open Source: Democratic Dreams and the Rise of Digital History 2021 - Journal Article
Bonds of Salvation: How Christianity Inspired and Limited American Abolitionism 2020 - Book
 The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook 2019 - Book
 Apocalypse and the Millennium in the Civil War Era  2013 - Book


Andrew W. Mellon Short-Term Fellowship in African American History - Library Company of Philadelphia [2023]
Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship - American Antiquarian Society [2023]
Andrew W. Mellon Short-Term Research Fellowship - American Philosophical Society [2023]
Transatlantic Research Fellowship - British Library and Houghton Library, Harvard University - American Trust for the British Library - Harvard University [2022]
Princeton University Library Research Grant - Princeton University [2022]
David B. Kennedy and Earthart Fellowship - Clements Library, University of Michigan [2022]
Presbyterian Historical Society Research Fellowship - Presbyterian Historical Society [2022]
Open Educational Resources Grant Program - Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board [2019]
Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship - American Antiquarian Society [2016]
Sojourner Truth Service Fellowship - Historians Against Slavery [2016]


Associate Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2021–Present]
Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2015–2021]
Assistant Professor
The Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College [2014–2015]


Empires of Souls: Britain, the United States, and the Colonization of West Africa
This monograph explores the religious roots of British and American imperialism as manifested in the colonization Sierra Leone and Liberia. 
American Christians and Slavery, Past and Present
This work of synthesis, designed for public audiences explores how Christianity has shaped and continues to shape the way Americans understand and respond to slavery. 
The Age of Revolutions in the Digital Age
An anthology edited by Mark Boonshoft, Nora Slonimsky, and Ben Wright exploring the intersections between the digital humanities and early American studies. 


For a full list see

Additional Information

My courses in American history, African American history, the Atlantic World, and the digital humanities all require students to perform as historians: analyzing primary documents, crafting arguments based on these documents, and evaluating the arguments of other historians. Students of history become careful readers, creative thinkers, and clear communicators—all essential skills for success in contemporary life.

My research explores how people of faith have understood social injustice, particularly around issues of race and ethnicity. I am the author of Bonds of Salvation: How Christianity Inspired and Limited American Abolitionism (LSU 2020) and the co-editor of both The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook (Stanford 2019) with Joseph L. Locke and Apocalypse and the Millennium in the American Civil War Era (LSU 2013) with Zachary W. Dresser. 

I have three new book projects. The first is a single-authored monograph that unfolds the religious roots of modern imperialism through an exploration of the British and American colonization of Africa. The second is a synthetic work aimed at a public audience that tracks the history of Christianity and slavery in the United States from 1619 to the present. Finally, I am working with Joseph L. Locke on a co-authored monograph historicizing digital history. 

My scholarship on the history of antislavery has brought me into contact with activists working on issues of modern slavery and human trafficking. I believe that history should inform these contemporary movements and I have served on the board of Historians Against Slavery and am a member of the Children at Risk Institute.

I have a particular interest in the teaching opportunities and democratizing potential of digital technology. I continue to direct the work of hundreds of historians at The American Yawp. I am also a co-organizer and co-editor of The Age of Revolutions in the Digital Age, a forthcoming symposium and volume on the digital humanities and early American studies under advance contract from Cornell University Press. I am also the coeditor of, a NEH-funded resource for K-12 teachers. My interest in critical pedagogy has led me to serve as managing editor of the Teaching United States History Blog (

When not writing or teaching, I am likely listening to the music of Bruce Springsteen or rooting on my beloved Green Bay Packers.


  • American Historical Association Organization of 
  • American Historians American Society for Church 
  • History Southern Historical Association American 
  • Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Society of 
  • Historians of the Early American Republic 
  • Conference on Faith and History 
  • Historians Against Slavery 
  • Society for U.S. Intellectual History