Benjamin Hanley

Ben Hanley Headshot

Benjamin Hanley

PhD Student

Ben Hanley (he/they) entered the American Studies program in 2021 as a lifelong Wisconsinite and proud graduate of UW-Madison ('18), where he was inducted into both Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa. Their research focuses on post-Cold War United States culture, including mass media, popular culture, political economy, and the digital age, with an emphasis on video games, social media, and the Internet. A self-proclaimed Pokémon Master, he desires to use the Pokémon franchise as a framework to investigate how young people have navigated the continuously tumultuous transition from the 20th into the digitized 21st century. Their other research interests include queer and feminist theory, horror media and monster theory, capitalism, and meme culture.

Where did you go for undergrad and what did you study there?

I attended University of Wisconsin-Madison. I double majored in English-Creative Writing and Sociology, and received certificates in Gender & Women's Studies and LGBTQ+ Studies. (I also did Music and Theater as hobbies, including performing in the renowned UW Marching Band.)

Imagine you're up to bat as a Major League Baseball Player. You need a walk-out song. Which would you choose?

Lotus Eater by Foster the People.

What advice would you give GW undergrads who are pursuing American Studies?

GWU's AMST program is unlike any other in the country, so be gracious for the amazing opportunity to pursue a degree of this caliber. Also, American Studies is like a little taste of everything all at the same time, which makes learning so interesting and joyful!

What are you currently reading?

Monster Kids: How Pokémon Taught a Generation to Catch Them All by Daniel Dockery.