Religious & Ethical Studies Faculty
Our faculty specialize in a wide range of fields in textual, historical and cultural approaches to Religious Studies, Ethical Theory, and Applied Ethics. Religious and Ethical Studies courses provide students with an informed look at the world, its rich and varied religious traditions, and its ethical and cultural perspectives—from ancient times to popular culture.
Margarita M. W. Suarez, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies
Margarita Suarez joined the Meredith faculty in 2001 and received tenure in 2008. Her area of concentration is religion and culture, specializing in contextual concerns within global liberation theologies. Her dissertation, "’Hasta la Victoria Siempre’: Birthing Cuban Feminist Theology,” is an ethnographic view into the lives and religious thought of three Cuban women –pastor/theologians.
Dr. Suarez is faculty advisor for Spectrum, Meredith’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Friends student group, and the new Jewish Student’s Organization.
Dr. Suarez teaches courses in historical and contemporary Christianity including: global liberation theologies, women in Christianity, and Christian Theology and courses in religion and culture: Anthropology of Religion and Religions in the United States. Her most recent publication is the article, “Cubana/os,” in the Handbook on Latino/a Theologies. Edited by Edwin David Aponte and Miguel A. De La Torre. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2006.
Her current research interests are the variety of religious expression in Cuba and the use of ethnographic research methodologies within religious scholarship.
Degrees Held: B.A., Fordham University; M.Div., Harvard Divinity School; Ph.D., Northwestern University
Contact: Joyner 208, (919) 760-8063, SuarezM@meredith.edu
Shannon Grimes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Religious and Ethical Studies
Dr. Grimes joined the Meredith faculty in Fall 2006 and received tenure in 2012. She teaches courses in biblical studies, early Christianity, world religions, and environmental ethics. Her research interests include religion and philosophy in the Greco-Roman period and late antiquity; religious views of nature and the cosmos; and the ways in which science, magic, and religion intersect. Her current research projects focus on alchemy and astronomy in antiquity, and the ways in which these sciences have sparked the religious imagination.
Degrees Held: B.A., University of Puget Sound; M.A., California Institute of Integral Studies; M.Phil. and Ph.D., Syracuse University
Contact: Joyner 206, (919) 760-8749, GrimesSh@meredith.edu
Steven Benko, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies
Dr. Benko teaches courses in ethics, religious ethics, business ethics, theories of religion, and world religions. His interests include the intersection of technology and religion, popular culture and religion, comedy and religion, and philosophy of religion.
Degrees Held: B.A. Loyola University; M.A. and Ph.D. Syracuse University
Contact: Joyner 209A, (919) 760-8801, firstname.lastname@example.org