Ben Bascom is a scholar and teacher of early and nineteenth-century American literatures. He draws upon a queer studies methodology that follows the relationship between power and desire, gender and sexuality, in American literary cultures.
Currently he is working on a book project, titled “Feeling Singular: Masculinity and Desire in the Early United States,” that examines the paradoxical nature of masculine self-promotion in the early United States. Before the nineteenth-century valorization of self-reliance, men who appeared too unduly attached to their own singularity were perceived as outsiders. Bringing these figures into the center of early national culture, he draws on a queer studies approach that uncovers how their fraught private desires shaped a public masculinity increasingly at odds with the disinterested norms of republican public culture.
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Research and Publications
- “‘A thought struck me’: John Fitch and the Federal Republic.” Early American Literature 48.1 (Spring 2013): 153–76