Bio

Shorter Bio
Benjamin Bennett-Carpenter, Ph.D. (2008, Catholic University of America), serves as Special Lecturer in Writing and Rhetoric, Liberal Studies, and the Honors College at Oakland University in Michigan, USA.  Publications include articles in the Journal of Communication and Religion, the journal Mortality: Promoting the Interdisciplinary Study of Death and Dying, and Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science.  Bennett-Carpenter is the author of Death in Documentaries: The Memento Mori Experience published by Brill | Rodopi (2018).  He serves as editorial board member for the Journal of Media Law and Ethics and as co-chair of the Interdisciplinary Study of Religions section of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Longer Bio
I want to understand everything.  Not every little detail but the "whole shebang."  In my experience, religion has been the most immediate answer given to the question of 'What's it all about?'  But this raises the question of what religions are all about.  And then there are all the other ways of encountering the mysteries of existence, including philosophies, arts, and sciences.  I think any helpful resources no matter where they come from should come into play to understand the complex phenomena we know as existence.  So that makes me an interdisciplinarian. 

More specifically, my work engages rhetorical and psychological strategies within cultural niches.  These niches include interpersonal & academic discourse, society & religion, art & media, and particular personal microcosms.  I am especially interested in how we human beings compose our world(s) in relation to issues of mortality, creativity, spirituality/secularity, and conceptions of information.  I seek to understand and negotiate what I see as individual and collective struggles for survival, well-being, and inspiration in a complex universe.

In my professional capacities, I teach as Special Lecturer in the Department of Writing & Rhetoric, the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies program, and the Honors College at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan, USA).  I earned a BA in Literature and an integrated second major in Biblical & Theological studies from Wheaton College in Illinois; an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Denver; and a PhD in Religion & Culture (with a 'cognate area' in Media Studies) from the Catholic University of America, Washington DC (2008).  I am a past summer fellow of the Meadow Brook Writing Project (2010).  In 2011, I completed an MA in Clinical Psychology at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology (formerly the Center for Humanistic Studies, Detroit).  I serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Media Law and Ethics (2007-pres.) and am the past founding chair/co-chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies section of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters (2010-2016).  In 2013, the poet Glen Armstrong and I initiated a publication called Cruel Garters, which publishes well-established and newer voices in contemporary poetry.  In 2015, I organized a new section for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religions of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, which held its first meeting in Ottawa in 2016.  In an independent practice, I provide 
project consulting and life coaching to a limited number of individuals (2014-pres.).

Since 2005, I have taught courses at Oakland University (Michigan) in writing -- and, since 2011, courses also in creativity and interdisciplinary studies.   In my current writing courses (WRT 1060)I lead rhetorical analyses and facilitate open-inquiry, student-centered research projects.  I have taught a course on creativity for the Honors College (2011); the capstone course (HS 402) for the Bachelor of Integrative Studies program (Summers 2011; 2012); and the introductory course for the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies Program (LBS 100): Exploration of the Arts & Sciences: Creativity (Winters, 2013-2016).  A course for the Honors College entitled "Explaining Jesus: A Case in the Interdisciplinary Study of Religions" (HC 204) took place during the Fall 2016 semester.  A course for the Honors College entitled, "Spirits, Gods, & Aliens" is has recently concluded (Winter 2018).  I have served in a number of capacities at Oakland University, including as a member of the First Year Writing Committee (Fall 2011 - Winter 2013; Fall 2014 - Winter 2015), as a Faculty Mentor to students for the Bachelor of Integrative Studies program (2011-2016), and as a member of the Writing Excellence Award committee (2013-pres.).

My essays/articles appear in the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin, Review of Religious Research, Kenneth Burke and His Circles (Parlor), the Michigan Academician, the Journal of Communication and Religion, the journal Mortality: Promoting the Interdisciplinary Study of Death and Dying, and Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science.  My more recent writing includes, among other things: the experience of 9/11 footage as memento mori; creativity in relation to evolutionary and existentialist themes in psychology; explaining the phenomenon of Jesus as a 'person' in people's lives through interdisciplinary exploration; and exploring the rhetorics of 'information' in the arts & sciences.  A book entitled Death in Documentaries: The Memento Mori Experience is out now with Brill | Rodopi (2018).