Ben Wright is a historian of early America, specializing in the history of race and religion. He is the author or editor of four books and has published articles in venues including the American Historical Review and the Washington Post.
His research explores how people of faith understood and responded to social injustice, particularly around issues of race. His first book Bonds of Salvation: How Christianity Inspired and Limited American Abolitionism explores how religion shaped the American antislavery movement and both helped to create and nearly destroy the American nation. His new project explores how unrecognized transformations in American and British imperialism were forged through religious cooperation and competition in West Africa.
He is the coeditor of Apocalypse and the Millennium in the American Civil War Era, along with Zachary W. Dresser. This volume explores how Americans understood the future in an era of national crisis.
Wright is an active practitioner of the digital humanities. He continues to direct the work of hundreds of historians through The American Yawp, a free and online, collaboratively produced American history textbook, which he co-edits with Joseph L. Locke. He is also the coeditor of The Abolition Seminar, a NEH-funded teaching resource for school teachers.
Wright's historical research on slavery has involved him in the modern anti-human trafficking movement. He has been a board member of both Historians Against Slavery and the Children at Risk Institute. The former is an international collection of academics bringing historical consciousness to the fight against modern slavery, and the latter is a Texas-based organization engaged in research and advocacy on behalf of children.
Wright has given both academic and public-oriented talks on topics ranging from the history of religion and abolitionism, missionaries and imperialism, the separation of church and state, Christianity and slavery from the Transatlantic trade to modern human trafficking, democracy in the digital humanities, and more.