Prof. Bell has published two books. The first, a monograph titled We Shall Be No More: Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States, examines the role that discourse regarding self-destruction played in the cultural formation of the early republic. The second work, Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America, a co-edited volume of essays centered on the experience of incarcerated subjects and citizens in early America, is the product of a conference organized at the McNeil Center in 2009. Prof. Bell is currently at work upon a new book-length micro-history. The project is titled “The Lost Boys: A Story of Slavery and Justice on the Reverse Underground Railroad,” and is under contract with Simon & Schuster. Prof. Bell is also the author of several journal articles, most recently in the Journal of the Early Republic, Early American Literature, Slavery and Abolition, and History Compass.
Prof. Bell has held research fellowships at more than a dozen libraries and institutes. Since 2006 he has served as the Mellon Fellow in American History at Cambridge University, the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society, a Mayer Fellow at the Huntington Library, a Research Fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition and Resistance at Yale University and as a Resident Fellow at the John W Kluge at the Library of Congress. He is also a frequent lecturer and debater
Prof. Bell is the recipient of more than a dozen teaching awards, including the 2017 University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor for teaching faculty in the Maryland state system. He is also one of the conveners of the Washington Area Early American Seminar, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Historical Society, and the Chair of the UMD United Kingdom Fellowships Committee. He lives in University Park, MD, with his wife and two daughters.
Early America; American history to 1865; American Revolution; Early Republic; history of violence in America; history of suicide; history of slavery, abolition and resistance; history of print communication