Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Watson Postdoc Benjamin D. Weber

Benjamin D. Weber

+1 401 863 9073
280 Brook Street, Room 307


Benjamin D. Weber

Postdoctoral Fellow in International and Public Affairs


Benjamin Weber is an interdisciplinary historian of the United States in the World specializing in Critical Carceral Studies, with comparative expertise in African Diaspora History, Latin American History, and International Legal and Political Thought. He received his PhD in History from Harvard in May 2017, and served as American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Mellon Public Fellow and Senior Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice and Alternate ROOTS in New Orleans. He is at work on his first book, a history of incarceration and American empire, under contract with The New Press.

Ben teaches courses in History, African American Studies, and International & Public Affairs, utilizing transnational approaches and digital methods. He has been recognized for his teaching and multimedia work, including being named the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS) Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the United States, receiving Harvard’s Derek Bok Center Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and winning an Omni Gold Award for The Calderwood U.S. History Series produced by WGBH Boston for PBS Learning Media. Most recently, he co-directed Louisiana’s contribution to the States of Incarceration national public history project and traveling exhibit. 

Ben’s published and forthcoming writing appears in the Journal of American History, International Labor and Working-Class History, Archive Journal, American Federation of Teachers Journal, Academic Exchange Quarterly, Journal of the Oxford University History Society, Prison Photography, ArcGIS Online, Vera Institute of Justice, and Medium.com. His research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Charles Warren Center for American History, and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.



Benjamin D. Weber, American Purgatory: An Imperial History of the Carceral State, The New Press, (under contract), 2021

Benjamin D. Weber, The Strange Career of the Convict Clause: US Prison Imperialism in the Panamá Canal Zone, International Labor and Working-Class History (forthcoming), 2019

Benjamin D. Weber, Fearing the Flood: Prison Revolt and Counterinsurgency in the US-Occupied Philippines, International Review of Social History, 2018        

Benjamin D. Weber, Fugitive Justice: The Possible Futures of Prison Records from US Colonial Rule in the Philippines, Archive Journal, 2017

Benjamin D. Weber, Teaching Histories of Race and Incarceration in the Prison Capital of the World, American Federation of Teachers Journal, 2016

Benjamin D. Weber, Geography for Civic Action in East Los Angeles, in Todd Kenreich, ed., Geography for Social Justice in the Classroom (New York: Routledge), 2012 


Slow Drag in the Big Uneasy, BlueSpark Collaborative, (creative producer), 2020

Visions of Justice in New Orleans, Vera Institute of Justice, (director), 2017

Sentenced to Slavery, Stuck in Jim Crow, States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories, (director), 2016

Slavery in Effect: A History Design Studio Briefing (prod. Vincent Brown),  Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, (guest scholar), 2016

The Calderwood US History Series with Historian Ben Weber, WGBH Boston and PBS Learning Media, (series host), 2015

Primary Sources of the Civil Rights Movement, Congressional Moments, Center on Congress & Teaching with Primary Sources, (guest scholar), 2013


Beyond Money Bail: Looking Back to Move Ahead, Vera Institute of Justice’s Think Justice Blog, June 27, 2018

Bail Bondage: The Price of Freedom, The Advocate / The Gambit (cover story), June 4, 2018

New Orleans’ Money Bond System Puts a Price on Freedom, Report Says, The Times-Picayune / Nola.com, May 14, 2018

New Exhibit at Ogden Profiles History of Mass Incarceration, Imprisonment in U.S., The Gambit, April 6, 2017

Mom of Jailed No Limit Rapper Talks Impact of Incarceration: ‘Not Just a DOC Number,’ The Times-Picayune / NOLA.com, April 22, 2017

Mellon Foundation Awards $150,000 Grant to the Humanities Action Lab, Including University of New Orleans, UNO Campus News, February 13, 2017

National Endowment for the Humanities Gives $250,000 Grant to Coalition that Includes University of New Orleans, UNO Campus News, January 22, 2016

What is the Meaning of Death while Serving Life? Prison Photography, 2016