Ben Zeller

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Assistant Professor of Religion

Areas of Specialization

Religion in America
Religion and Culture
Religion and Science
New Religious Movements

Education

University of North Carolina
The Graduate School – PhD, Religious Studies, 2007.

Harvard University
Harvard Divinity School – MTS, 2002.

University of Rochester
College of Arts and Sciences – BA, Religious Studies, 1999.

Previous Appointments

Director of Honors Program, Brevard College, May 2010 – Spring 2012.

Coordinator of Religious Studies Program, Brevard College. Fall 2009 – Spring 2012.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Religious Studies, Brevard College. Fall 2007 – Spring 2012.

Instructor, Dept. of Religion, Temple University. Fall 2005 – Spring 2007.

Instructor, Dept. of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina. Spring 2005.

Teaching Fellow, Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University. Spring 2002 – Spring 2003.

Publications

Monograph

Prophets and Protons: New Religious Movements and Science in Late Twentieth-Century America. New York: New York University Press, 2010.

Journal Articles

“At the Nexus of Science and Religion: UFO Religions,” Religion Compass, vol. 5, no. 11, Nov 2011.

“American Postwar ‘Big Religion’: Reconceptualizing Twentieth-Century American Religion Using Big Science as a Model,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, vol. 80, no. 2, June 2011.

“Science as Social Identity Marker: The Case of Early Unificationism in America,” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, vol. 14, no. 4, May 2011.

“New Religious Movements and Science,” Nova Religio, vol. 14, no. 4, May 2011.

“Religion and Science in America,” Religion Compass, vol. 5, no. 4, April 2011.

“Extraterrestrial Biblical Hermeneutics and the Making of Heaven’s Gate,” Nova Religio, vol. 14, no. 2, November 2010.

“‘We Learned So Much When You Weren’t There!’: Reflections on the Interteach Method and the Acephalous Classroom,” Teaching Theology & Religion, vol. 13, no. 3, July 2010.

“Scaling Heaven’s Gate: Individualism and Salvation in a New Religious Movement,” Nova Religio, vol. 10, no. 2, November 2006.

“‘We’re the Other Catholic Church’: Feminism in a Radical Catholic Renewal Community,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, vol. 19, no. 2, Fall 2003.

Book Chapters

“Food Practices, Culture, and Social Dynamics in the Hare Krishna Movement,” in Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production, edited by Crole M. Cusack and Alex Norman. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

“Individualism and Salvation in Heaven’s Gate,” in Heaven’s Gate, edited by George D. Chryssides. London: Ashgate Press, 2011.

“The Euphemization of Violence: The Case of Heaven’s Gate,” in Violence and New Religious Movements, edited by James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

“Inverted Orientalism, Vedic Science, and the Modern World: Bhaktivedanta and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,” in Handbook Of Religion And The Authority Of Science, edited by James R. Lewis. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

“Apocalyptic Thought in UFO Religions,” in End of Days: Understanding the Apocalypse from Antiquity to Modernity, edited by Karolyn Kinane and Michael A. Ryan. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland Press, 2009.

Awards and Honors

Fulbright Scholar, Fulbright Scholar Program, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland. Fall 2012.

Fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar. “Public and Private Cultural Exchange-Based Diplomacy: New Models for the 21st Century.” (Session 490.) Salzburg, Austria, April 2012.

Faculty Leader, Teaching and Learning Institute, Appalachian College Association. June 2011.

“Pedagogies for Engaged and Actively-Learning Students in Religious Studies,” The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Fall 2011.

United Methodist Church Award for Exemplary Teaching, Brevard College, 2010-2011.

Wabash Summer Fellowship for Pre-Tenure Religion Faculty at Colleges and Universities, Summer 2009.

Appalachian College Association, Faculty Grant for Undergraduate Research, Summer 2008 – Spring 2009.

Fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar, Mellon Fellowship Community Initiative.  “Colleges and Universities as Sites of Global Citizenship.” (ISP 22 & ISP 29.) Salzburg, Austria, January 2008 and January 2009. 

Library of Congress / Adventure of the American Mind, Course Development Grant, Fall 2007 – Summer 2008.

Professional Membership

American Academy of Religion
American Society of Church History
International Society for the Study of New Religions