DR. BENJAMIN B. ALEXANDER
Dr. Benjamin Alexander is a seasoned, dynamic classroom teacher with over 25 years of experience in liberal arts teaching institutions; tenured on two different Midwestern college faculties; has taught courses in almost every literary period and has often taught Interdisciplinary courses concerning the theological, philosophic, and political dimensions of Dante, Shakespeare, and existential novelists.
Currently he holds an interdisciplinary appointment as Professor of English and Humanities at Franciscan University of Steubenville; chaired the English department from 1992-1996 (tenured, 1997); has served on several faculties, including Hampden-Sydney College (Virginia), Washington College (Maryland), George Mason University and Catholic University of America and Hillsdale College (Michigan).
Dr. Alexander has been a reader for doctoral dissertation on modern American literature with Louse Cowan, University of Dallas. For several years he worked with with Cleanth Brooks of Yale on a liturgical committee concerning the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. He has edited (or currently is editing) for publication the unpublished letters and writings of Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and their mentor, Caroline Gordon – whom he knew at the University of Dallas as a graduate student.
In 2006, Dr. Alexander was one of three archival scholars to receive the rare publication permission from the Mary Flannery O'Connor estate to edit and publish letters not contained or not fully printed in The Habit of Being. In 2006, he received permission from the Ralph Ellison Estate to edit the letters between Ralph Ellison and Robert Penn Warren at the Library of Congress.
As a jazz/blues musician, Dr. Alexander has supplemented an academic career with a music career playing and singing in various groups including the Marcells (1961, Colpix records, "Blue Moon"). This background has proved invaluable in teaching African-American literature such as writers Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and August Wilson.
Dr. Alexander has speech-writing and consulting experience in the Federal government (G.S. 13 & 14), including special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Education in 1992 and communications consultant to the Director of the U.S. Information Agency (1990) and the Deputy Secretary of Population Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1991).
Twice a Bradley and an annual Earhart Fellow in the Humanities since 1988, Dr. Alexander has lectured nationally and internationally before academic conferences, Church groups, and humanities audiences on American and world literature, African-American literature, political theory, and human life issues. In 2001, he lectured at the Gerard Manley Hopkins summer school, Kildare Country, Ireland, and in 2002, at the Society for the Study of Southern Literature conference Sandbjerg, Denmark. He has appeared on radio and television throughout the US to discuss theological implications of public policy issues.
Dr. Alexander is editing a book to be published by the University of Missouri Press called Good Things Out of Nazareth: Letters of Flannery O'Connor. He is also completing two other books, Dante and Flannery O'Connor: Divine Comedy in Dante and Flannery O’Connor (Univ. of Scranton), and Confessions of a Mis-Educated Novelist: Essays and Reviews by Walker Percy (Univ. of Missouri Press).