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Benton to teach J-Term course on the evolution and cultural impact of video games
Monday, December 13, 2010

Bond Benton
Bond Benton

Dr. Benton is considered an expert in international and intercultural communications, as well as internet phenomena (when something strange or bizarre happens, it often becomes an online sensation). His research reflects his interest in pop cultural artifacts and he enjoys movies of all kinds, video games, podcasts, Rammstein, comic books, bumming around Europe, and "passionately following the sorry lot that is the Kansas City Royals."

By Olivia Civiletto

Among the six new tenure-track faculty who began teaching at SUNY Fredonia this fall is Communications Professor Bond Benton, who is introducing an online course on the evolution and impact of video games this J-Term. Starting Monday, Jan. 3, the course explores the dynamics of video games, including cultural issues of gender, race, and class, as they influence society. The video game industry is more profitable than many other forms of media including television, newspapers and motion pictures, Dr. Benton said.

Before coming to Fredonia, Dr. Benton spent a good portion of his life studying as well as working in Vienna, Austria; a decision influenced by the fact that his wife, Daniela Peterka-Benton, another tenure-track faculty member at SUNY Fredonia, is Austrian.

During his time in Vienna, Benton worked with the U.S. State Department for six years, traveling for his work to Kosovo, Jerusalem, Beirut, Rwanda, and throughout Western Europe. He describes Beirut as the most beautiful city he has ever visited, and singled out Estonians as among the people he most enjoyed working with. He noted that the most rewarding experience during his time with the State Department was helping the employees of the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda understand cultural differences.

Dr. Benton has also been a trainer/consultant for the State Department and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Organization in Austria, where he did communications training at the United Nation's office in Vienna. He taught people communications skills that helped them to talk and work together more efficiently.  

Although he enjoyed his time in Vienna, both Dr. Benton and his wife sought greater opportunities in America. They were fortunate enough to find jobs together at SUNY Fredonia, where he is now teaching communications courses such as mass media and society, and principles of public relations.

When asked why he decided to teach, Dr. Benton first replied with, “I just really like talking to people.” He said that he taught in Vienna during his time there, and hearing from former students is extremely rewarding. He added, “I like to think I have some connection to the future. It’s like being a parent over and over again, minus the diapers.”

Although the fact that he and his wife would be able to work together was what initially lead Dr. Benton to SUNY Fredonia, he said “if we had known how great it was before, we would have come here independently.”

Dr. Benton comes to SUNY Fredonia most recently from Montpelier, Vt., where he was teaching a variety of communications and political science classes at Champlain College, Vermont Technical College, and Community College of Vermont.

Before becoming a professor, he studied as an undergrad at Wichita State University in Kansas, where he majored in speech communication, religion and philosophy.  “Communication teaches you how to talk, but the other majors gave me something to say,”  he said.

He earned his M.A. in speech communication and rhetoric at Kansas State University.


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