Prof. Ben Chappell

Associate Professor
Primary office:
213P Bailey Hall


Ben Chappell is an ethnographer, cultural critic, and author of two books on Mexican American cultural production, Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars (2012, University of Texas Press) and Mexican American Fastpitch: Identity at Play in Vernacular Sport (2021, Stanford University Press). Professor Chappell teaches large undergraduate lectures as well as doctoral and honors seminars on American identities, ethnography, theory, and critical university studies. He has been a consulting scholar for public projects with the Smithsonian Institution, Kauffman Museum, the Kansas City Museum, and the Chicago Urban Art Society. He organized and currently convenes the Ethnography Caucus of the American Studies Association. His current research interests include fascist cultural logics, epistemologies of disavowal, and transnational music movements of the late 20th century. Professor Chappell holds the PhD in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Teaching Interests

  • Ethnography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Research Methods
  • Globalization
  • American Identities
  • Class
  • U.S. Latina/os

Research Interests

  • Mexican America
  • Popular culture
  • Cultural politics
  • Everyday life
  • Lowriders
  • Softball.

Current Classes:
AMS 332, The United States in Global Context
AMS 345, Cultural Studies

  • Listen to Margaret Kelley discuss it's not just fear of violence or belief in the second amendment and gun rights prompting gun ownership.  On this episode of WhenExpertsAttack she explains that concerns about Armageddon and "supernatural" evil also are at play.  
  • Congratulations to Bobby Cervantes for being awarded the Harry Middleton Fellowship in Presidential Studies!
  • Read about Afro-Puerto Rican illustrator Eric Velasquez in this piece written by William García-Medina for Teaching For Change.
  • Geoffrey Newman did a podcast for the journal Kansas History that was broadcast on 91.9 KSDB-FM.  It is available online here.
  • Congratulations to Sam Steuart for being named KU's 20th Truman scholar!
  • This article, written by Geoffrey Newman, was published in the August edition of the Kansas History Journal. Congratulations Geoffrey!
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Kathryn Vaggalis for being awarded the American Studies Association's 2018 Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize!
  • KU-AUMI InterArts was recently featured by the Commons in a video on improving inclusive communities at KU. You can watch the video, which features our own Sherrie Tucker amongst other founders of the movement at KU, and learn more about AUMI here!
  • Congratulations to Professor Robert Warrior on being elected to a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • This articlewritten by Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey, was published in the latest edition of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Congratulations, Hannah!
  • We would like to recognize Patrick Sumner, 2005 alumni, for his work in this article about the defacement of the John Brown memorial in the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Please read this article about Professor Robert Warrior titled: Native scholar uncomfortably at home in American studies field.
  • Congratulations to Daniel Carey-Whalen, an alumni that was recently promoted as UTEP's Centennial Museum director.
  • Congratulations to Josh Parshall, an alumni who was recently featured in this article.
  • How a motion-tracking musical software is breaking down barriers for people with disabilities: click here to read more about the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a one-of-a-kind piece of inclusive technology that promotes musical improvisation. The article recognizes Professor Sherrie Tucker, who started AUMI jam sessions and helped to bring the grant and symposium for it to Lawrence. Written by Omar Sanchez
  • KU Special Education Department: With Ray Pence
  • 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 »
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A forum for interdisciplinary dialogue between renowned speakers, the university and the surrounding communities.
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