Prof. Ben Terry Chappell

International & Interdisciplinary Studies - American Studies
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Bailey Hall, 213M
The University of Kansas
1440 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594


Trained as a musician and anthropologist, Ben Chappell works as an ethnographer and interdisciplinary scholar. His current research areas include Mexican American studies, vernacular cultural production, and neoliberalism.


Prof. Chappell's teaching efforts focus on the graduate program and core requirements in the AMS major.

Teaching Interests

  • Ethnography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Theory
  • U.S. in Global Context
  • American Identities

Research Interests

  • Mexican America, vernaculars, cultural politics, everyday life, lowriders, softball, neoliberalism, critical university studies.


Prof. Chappell provides national service in the American Studies Association and the American Anthropological Association, regional service in the Mid-America American Studies Association, and service to the department and campus in a variety of roles, recently including University Senate, Executive Committee of Graduate Faculty, Interim Chair of Theatre and Dance, and Director of Graduate Studies.

Selected Publications

Santillán, Richard, Gene T. Chávez, Rod Martínez, Raymond Olais, and Ben Chappell. 2018. Mexican American Baseball in Kansas City. Books. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.
Chappell, Ben. 2016. “The Borders the Cross Us: Ethnographic Sensibilities for Transnational American Studies.” Book Chapters. In Approaching Transnational America in Performance, edited by Birgit Bauridl and Pia Wiegmink. Peter Lang.
Chappell, Ben. 2016. “Lowrider Publics: Aesthetics and Contested Communities.” Book Chapters. In The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture, edited by Frederick Aldama, 267–78. London/New York: Routledge.
Chappell, Ben. 2015. “The Nature and Meaning of Research in American Studies.” Other. American Studies Association White Papers. American Studies Association.
Chappell, Ben. 2014. “Barrio Metaxis: The Ambivalent Aesthetics of Lowrider Cars.” Book Chapters. In Vehicles: Cars, Canoes, and Other Metaphors of Moral Imagination, edited by David Lipset and Richard Handler. Oxford/New York: Berghahn.
Chappell, Ben. 2013. “Lowriders.” Reviews. Edited by Ilan Stavans. Latino Studies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Chappell, Ben. 2012. Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars. Books. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Chappell, Ben. 2009. “Ordinary Exceptions: The Violence of Threat Governmentality.” Book Chapters. In Shifting Positionalities: The Local and International Geo-Politics of Surveillance and Policing, edited by María  Amelia Viteri and Aaron Tobler, 124–36. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Chappell, Ben. 2008. “Lowrider Style: Cultural Poetics and the Politics of Scale.” Book Chapters. In Cultural Studies: An Anthology, edited by Michael Ryan, 634–45. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Selected Work

Selected Presentations

Chappell, B. (11/17/2019). Google’s Lowrider, the Jokers, and the Conquest of the Eastside. American Anthropological Association/Canadian Anthropology Society. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Chappell, B. (11/7/2019). Strategies for Survival and Success in the Academic Job Market. American Studies Association. Honolulu, HI
Chappell, B. (5/30/2019). Mexican American Fastpitch: Vernacular Sport, Utopian Performance, and Cultural Citizenship in Mid-América. Cultural Studies Association. New Orleans, LA
Chappell, B. (6/28/2018). Everything can be Counted, Nothing can be Known: Neoliberalism and Knowledge Production. 10th anniversary conference, Regensburg European American Forum. University of Regensburg, Germany
Chappell, B. (2/14/2018). Layered Memory and Contested Value: Popular Aesthetics in a Mexican American Barrio. Capitalism and the City series. Free University of Berlin

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