English professor writes book about Dahmer

Doctor Joseph Benson to publish book about society’s part in shaping Jeffrey Dahmer

Professor and author Josef Benson     COURTESY OF UW-PARKSIDE

                                                                GABRIELLE TUCKER


Contemporary English professor Josef Benson writes about the idea that society was a key factor in the way that Jeffrey Dahmer turned out and how “serial killers are an extreme reflection of our society”.

The beginning of an interesting subject

Benson first heard about Jeffrey Dahmer when he taught at his first job out of grad school at Ohio State University, where he taught for a year. After finding out that Dahmer went to Ohio State, Benson was interested in learning more about Dahmer and his time at Ohio State and Columbus University by reading a true crime novel called “The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer. While reading the book, Benson also found out a few more facts about Dahmer, such as his victim preference and sexual orientation. Benson’s academic background in race studies, African American literature, gender studies, queer theory was what drew him to study Dahmer beyond the psychological aspect.

As time went on Benson became more intrigued at the fact that Dahmer once resided in Milwaukee. Benson started to find out things about the Milwaukee Police Department and how Milwaukee was the most segregated major city in the U.S. at the time, and the long history of Civil Rights struggles and other issues that might have had to do with shaping Dahmer.

The research

For the past seven months, Benson has been reading books about case studies and details about particular serial killers, their thought process, and what they did so that he can compare them to Dahmer and the crimes he committed.

Other research that Benson has done includes the cultural factors of race and making connections to the styled killings that Dahmer did with archaic lynches back in early American history and other torturous methods from hundreds of years ago in the U.S..

Benson has also researched the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Milwaukee, since Dahmer’s victims were mostly gay men of color, and Dahmer was known to be gay.

He is also researching the history of the Milwaukee Police Department during Dahmer’s life in Milwaukee. So far Benson has read around eighty to ninety books within his research process.

Other works by Josef Benson

Benson’s book about Jeffrey Dahmer is still in the beginning stages and will not be out for some time, but he does have two other published books on different subject matters, and a third book being published later this year about comics, graphic novels and whiteness, as well as a fourth book about Star Wars that will be out in 2020. His first book was about hyper-masculinities and contemporary literature as well as looking at rural white masculinities and black masculinities. The concepts in this first book will configure in the background of the Jeffrey Dahmer book.

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