Ben Schmack

PhD Student
Primary office:
2012 Wescoe Hall

Ben Schmack is a PhD student in the Department of American Studies. His research interests include labor radicalism, repression, immigration, ethnicity, and working-class formation in the 20th century United States. His current work focuses more specifically on communist activism and labor repression in the coalfields of southern Illinois during the 1920s and 1930s. Before coming to KU in 2015, he earned his B.S. and M.A in History at Northern Illinois University. When he is not researching, Ben enjoys mocking bad movies, listening to music, and watching his beloved Chicago Cubs.


  • Best PhD Paper Prize Winner, NIU HGSA Conference (Fall 2016)
  • Katzman-Yetman Graduate Paper Prize Winner, MAASA Conference (Spring 2016)
  • Hayter Young Summer Research Grant, NIU (Summer 2014)

  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey for being awarded the 2017 Graduate Studies Summer Scholarship.
  • Ph.D. candidate, Rachel Schwallerhas been awarded the Hall Center's Sias Fellowship for Spring 2018.  Congratulations, Rachel!
  • KU Special Education Department: With Ray Pence
  • Seizing Freedom: With David Roediger and Peter St. Clair
  • Tribute Or Tribulation? How do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide? Listen here »
  • CLAS names 1st associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion (KU News link)
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. student Marilyn Ortega for being selected as one of the inaugural National Humanities Without Walls Predoctoral Fellows for 2017.
  • Ben Schmack won the Best Ph.D. Paper Award at the 2016 Northern Illinois University History Graduate Student Conference.  Congratulations, Ben!
  • Congratulations to Kathryn Vaggalis who received the Center for Migration Research Graduate Student Grant.
  • Ph.D. student Gamze Kati was one of the winners of the second annual IEHS graduate student blog competition this year.  Congratulations, Gamze!
Upcoming Events
Nichole T. Rustin-Paschal
​"'The Kind of Man I Am': Jazzmasculinity and the World of Charles Mingus"
Thursday, March 2, 2017 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Murphy Hall Room 238

Hall Center Humanities Lecture Series
A forum for interdisciplinary dialogue between renowned speakers, the university and the surrounding communities.
Schedule of Lectures


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