Ben Bunting
Associate Professor
Humanities and Social Sciences
Contact
Specialties
Ecocriticism
Game Studies
Space and Place Theory
Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature, Washington State University, 2012.
  • Master of Arts in English Literature, Washington State University, 2007.
  • Bachelor of Arts in English, Kent State University, 2003.
Biography

Since 2013, Ben has worked as Oregon Tech's only full-time literature professor, teaching fourteen different courses in literature and general humanities that help students from all majors and programs fulfill their general education requirements. He collaborated with Dr. Yasha Rohwer in 2013 and 2014 to design and implement the ALPs (Arts, Literature, and Philosophy) minor program, and since then he has offered a wide variety of specialized, upper-level HUM and LIT courses each year that help ALPs minors complete their curricula while learning about subjects like Video Game Studies, Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film, and American Nature Writing.

Outside of the classroom, much of Ben's time is spent in service to the university and his department. He has previously served as a member of the General Education Advisory Committee (three years), as a member and then chair of the Rank, Promotion, and Tenure Committee (five years total), and as the Assistant Director of the Oregon Tech Honors Program (two years). 2020 is Ben’s fifth year as an At-Large Faculty Senator, and his first year as a member of the Senate Executive Committee. He has also worked in various capacities for OT-AAUP since its formation in 2018, including as a member of the Organizing Committee, the Elections Committee, and the Communications Committee, and as the building Steward for Semon Hall.

Ben maintains an active research portfolio, presenting at conferences and publishing works in the areas of game studies and ecocriticism. This June, he will present for the sixth time at the national Popular Culture Association conference as a part of its Game Studies track. In 2019, he was a presenter at the first ever Phish Studies conference, which was hosted by Oregon State University and covered by pop culture publications including Rolling Stone and NPR. He has had chapters published in The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History, The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies, and Game On, Hollywood!: Essays on the Intersection of Video Games and Cinema. He has also had an essay on “alternative wildernesses” published in ISLE, the journal for interdisciplinary studies in literature and environment. Currently, he is revising an essay interpreting Firewatch as a critique of Transcendentalism, and has begun work on a new presentation/essay discussing The Long Dark through the lens of literary primitivism.

Ben is also consistently working to further develop his pedagogical knowledge and skills. He has attended Oregon Tech’s week-long OTET Workshop, and is a frequent participant in the annual OTET Conference. He also recently collaborated with Drs. CJ Riley and Jesse Kinder on a paper disseminating their work on developing an institutional teaching model for the university.

Outside of work, Ben enjoys walking, whether it’s taking a loop around the neighborhood with his dog, hiking to the summit of Mount Shasta, or something in-between. He’s also a big fan of backpacking, and tries to spend as much of his off-contract time in the woods as possible. When not playing in the woods, Ben spends his time listening to and writing music, taking photographs, and reading exactly the kind of books you would expect a recovering English Literature graduate student to read.