A native of Aurora, Illinois, Boynton earned his B.A. (2006) and M.A. (2009) in history from Illinois State University. In the fall of 2009 he entered the Ph.D program at the University of Kansas. While at KU, his research interests have focused on American environmental history in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on its cultural and intellectual dimensions.
Boynton’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Fighting the ‘Environmentalist Crusade’”: Conservative Intellectuals and the Ideological Origins of American Anti-Environmentalism,” seeks to weave together environmental history and intellectual history in order to understand the roots of the contemporary opposition to environmentalism. It argues that the proper lens through which to understand this opposition is not politics, entrenched economic interests, or grassroots social movements, but the ideas disseminated by conservative intellectuals in the so-called “environmental decade,” the 1970s. Only by looking at these ideas can we understand the anti-environmental impulse in contemporary politics and society.
In addition to his research, Boynton has also served as a GTA, GRA, and GA for a wide variety of courses during his time at KU. He has provided services as a traditional graduate teaching assistant for the first half of the U.S. history survey and as a graduate assistant for History 399: The Samurai. In the 2011-2012 academic year, he served as a research assistant to Donald Worster. He has also served in the Environmental Studies Department, assisting courses on environmental law and environmental policy. Boynton is advised by Sara Gregg.
When he is not researching, writing, or teaching, he is probably listening to rock, blues, or folk music or cheering on his favorite Chicago sports teams, the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks.