Ben Murphy


Greenlaw 311

Ph.D Student and Teaching Fellow 

My research draws on the environmental humanities, the history and philosophy of science (especially ecology, biology, and medicine), and American literature from antebellum to World War I (1830s - 1914). 

Of particular interest is the formation of ecology as a discipline and the ways in which ecotheory mingles with theories of the human and posthuman to forge entities such as ecosystems, atmospheres, and organisms. Past research along these lines has incorporated film (relating to both adaptation studies and the Anthropocene), the physiological origins of cybernetics, and the toxic bodies that populate Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). Currently my interests have me considering the ways in which literature can imagine and frame biopolitical metrics like populations, milieu, and life itself. 

My article "James Dickey's Deliverance, Film Adaptation, and the Postsouthern" is forthcoming (2017) in Mississippi Quarterly, and you can also find reviews I've written at Boundary 2 (web) and The Carolina Quarterly. 

As a Teaching Fellow, I regularly teach courses in composition and rhetoric. I’m also a Research Assistant in UNC's Music Library, a co-founder of the annual Post45 Graduate Colloquium, an inagural member of UNC’s “New Directions in 19th Century Studies” working group, a co-chair of the UNC-Duke Americanist Speakers Series, and the Book Review Editor for The Carolina Quarterly. 

Teaching Awards

Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Award (SUTSA) 2017 


B.A., Humanities & Writing, Houghton College, 2014. 

Research Groups and Interests

Group IX - Critical Theory and Cultural Studies
Group VI - American Literature to 1900
Group VII - American Literature from 1900 to the Present