Steven Benko

Steven Benko

Professor of Religious & Ethical Studies

222 Martin Hall

(919) 760-8801


Dr. Steven Benko is a Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Meredith College. His primary area of interest is in contemporary ethical thought and culture. He teaches courses at the intersection between ethics, religion, and culture, including courses on ethics and contemporary social issues, bioethics, comparative religious ethics, and religion and film. He is the co-editor of The Good Place and Philosophy: Get an Afterlife (2019) and the editor of Ethics in Comedy: Essays on Crossing the Line (2021). In his teaching and research he focuses on the idea of ethical subjectivity, the relationship between humor, religion and ethics, and how critical thinking strategies enhance pedagogical practices and student learning. He is the campus Coordinator for the Meredith College Ethics Bowl team and supervises many undergraduate research projects. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the American Culture Association/Pop Culture Association. He has participated in professional development seminars at the National Humanities Center and The Poyner Center for Ethics and Public Life.

Academic Credentials

Ph.D., Syracuse University, 2003
MA, Syracuse University, 1998
BA, Loyola University, 1996


Media Appearances and Invited Talks

  • 2020 “Me and we: Individual rights, common good and coronavirus” interview in the AP (2020-05-18)
  • 2020 “How You Should Get Food During the Pandemic” interview in The Atlantic (2020-03-14); “Is Food Delivery During the Coronavirus Pandemic Ethical?” in The New York Times (2020-05-07)
  •  2019 “From the PCA: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Good Place” podcast, I Think Therefore I Fan, hosted by Richard Greene (2019-05-07)
  • 2019 Lebanon Valley College, keynote speaker for The Examined Life: An Undergraduate Conference in the Liberal Arts in 2019; Like Boxing Gloves of Sadness: Authenticity, Ethics, and The Good Place
  • 2018 Mars Hill University, presentations on teaching, course design, and comedy: Comedy and Ethics; Course Design Strategies to Enhance Critical Thinking; Teaching Case Studies
  • 2018 “Meet the Philosophers Who Give ‘The Good Place’ Its Scholarly Bona Fides” interview in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2018-02-06).
  • 2016 “The Prose of Participation: 15 Minutes with Julie Schrock and Steven Benko” interview in The ‘Q’ Newsletter (2016-08-03); reprinted in Higher Education Today (2016-08-11)
  • 2015, March, appeared as expert on news report about Presbyterian Church approving same sex marriage liturgy (“Presbyterians Approve Gay Marriage in Church Constitution”)


Meredith College Honors Faculty Recognition Award (May 2011, 2012)


  • Forthcoming book chapter, “You Know I Didn’t Even Care: Why Did I Lose My Confidence in Dave Chappelle?” in Dave Chappelle and Philosophy, Open Court Press
  • 2021, “Unhappy Laughter: Politics, Affect, & Ethics in the Feminist Comedy of Aziz Ansari” with Ellie Jones in Comedy and Ethics, Steven A. Benko, ed.
  • 2021, “Otherwise Than Laughter: Levinas and an Ethics of Laughter” in Comedy and Ethics, Steven A. Benko, ed.
  • 2020, “The Good Other” in The Good Place and Philosophy, Kimberly Engels, ed., Blackwell Publishers
  • 2019, “Like Boxing Gloves of Sadness” in The Good Place and Philosophy, Steven A. Benko and Andrew Pavelich, eds.
  • 2018 “Trans/Posthuman Epistemology: Doubt and Back Again” in Michael Bess and Diana Walsh Pasulka, ed. Posthumanism: The Future of Homo Sapiens. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2018. (with Amelia J. Hruby)
  • 2016 “Interviewing Business Leaders to Develop Critical Thinking About Market Structures” in Journal of Economics and Finance Education (with Dr. Anne York), Fall 2016, Volume 15, no. 3.
  • 2015 “Critical Thinking and Teaching the Religions of Others” in Religious Studies News (October 28, 2015)
  • 2015 “Using Fundamental Concepts and Essential Questions to Promote Critical Thinking” in Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications (January 12, 2015)
  • 2015 “What Charlie Hebdo Says About Laughter, Violence, and Free Speech” in The Conversation (January 10, 2015)
  • 2014 “Critical Transhumanism as an Ethics of Otherness” (co-written with Amelia J. Hruby) in Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement, Calvin Mercer and Tracy Trothien, eds.
  •  2012 “Ironic Faith in Monty Python’s Life of Brian” in The Journal of Religion and Film, vol. 16, no. 1 (April 2012)
  • 2007 “Ethics Across the Curriculum, Application to Economics” in The Journal of Economics and Finance Education (with Drs. Anne York and Jane Barnes)
  • 2005 “Ethics, Technology, and Posthuman Communities” in Essays in Philosophy, Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 2005)

Need help locating someone?
Human Resources
1st Floor Park Center
(919) 760-8898
(919) 760-8164