School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Benjamin Houston

Senior Lecturer in Modern US History


Semester 2 Office Hours



Research Interests

Civil Rights & The African American Freedom Struggle

The U.S. South

20th Century US History

Oral History

My first book, The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City, was a community study of race relations and the Movement in Nashville, Tennessee.  It focused on the evolving relationship between racial law and racial custom (as exhibited by a number of different settings within the city) and how this relationship conditioned the cultural attitudes of whites and African Americans.  The book was awarded the Tennessee History Book Award (from the Tennessee Historical Commission & Tennessee Library Association) and the Arthur Miller Centre First Book Prize (from the British Association of American Studies and the University of East Anglia). 

My current research agenda is preoccupied with several assorted projects. I am currently completing a teaching-oriented textbook on the 1960 sit-ins, and an edited monograph of oral histories on the African-American experience in Pittsburgh.  Future project themes include nonviolent direct action and post-civil rights era black politics.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome inquiries about postgraduate supervision in my research areas.

Previous Positions

Director, Remembering African American Pittsburgh (RAP) Oral History Project, sponsored by the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA).


Undergraduate Teaching

I am currently module leader and/or tutor for:

HIS1030 Evidence and Argument
HIS1046 The Americas
HIS2080 Final Frontiers: America in the Space Age
HIS3125 Cultural Identities and the Counterculture in 1960s America.
HIS3240 Civil Rights in America
HIS3008 Reading History
HIS3010 Writing History

Postgraduate Teaching

HIS8031 Advanced themes in the History of the Americas MA (contributor)
HIS8103: The Southern Civil Rights Movement