In 1998, Herring received a Bachelor of Arts in both History and English from the University of Alabama. He earned a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1999 and 2004 respectively.
Herring joined the IU Department of English in 2007 after serving three years at Penn State University. His research focuses on modern American literary studies (1914-1945), American cultural studies, and LGBTQ studies as well as sub-fields such as critical rural/regional studies and material culture studies. Herring has published three books: Queering the Underworld: Slumming, Literature, and the Undoing of Lesbian and Gay History (University of Chicago Press, 2007), Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism (New York University Press, 2010; Lambda Literary Award), and The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2014). His essays have appeared in journals such as PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America), GLQ (A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies), American Quarterly, American Literary History, Criticism, Public Culture, Modernism/modernity. In addition, Herring serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Modern Fiction Studies, the Advisory Board of Genders, and the Advisory Committee of PMLA.