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Carla J. Mulford

Professor of English, Penn State

My research and teaching areas have widened considerably during my career at Penn State. I teach and research in early modern, American, Native American, early African American, and environmental studies. Across my career at Penn State, I have published eleven books and over sixty articles and chapters in books on a variety of subjects.

My current preoccupation is Benjamin Franklin, on whom I've published about 20 essays, book chapters, and blog entries, in addition to a book, Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire (Oxford University Press, 2015). My shorter work treats Franklin's scientific activity, his beliefs, his reputation for masculinity, his educational liberalism, and several other topics. In Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire, I uncover Franklin's theories of empire (grounded in early modern liberalism) and show how they were evident even while he was a young man. My current book in progress is titled Benjamin Franklin's Electrical Diplomacy. I'm showing how Franklin attempted to use his scientific reputation to help influence political policy in England and then in France.


  • –present
    Professor of English; Founding President, Society of Early Americanists, Pennsylvania State University