Bio

Shorter Bio
Benjamin Bennett-Carpenter, Ph.D. (2008), Catholic University of America, is Special Lecturer in Writing and Rhetoric and the Liberal Studies program at Oakland University in Michigan, USA.  Recent publications appear 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's Death in Documentaries: The Memento Mori Experience is forthcoming with Brill | Rodopi in December 2017. 

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 and the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies program 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 has published 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 and life coaching/consulting 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 150/160)I lead rhetorical analyses and facilitate open-inquiry, student-centered research projects.  I also 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 forthcoming in 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), a member of the Writing Excellence Award committee (2013-pres.), and as a Faculty Mentor to students for the Bachelor of Integrative Studies program (2011-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 an article for Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science is forthcoming.  From 2005 to 2014, I collaborated with Michael J. McCallion on research related to the rhetoric and practice of the "new evangelization" in the Roman Catholic Church. 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 forthcoming with Brill in 2017.