Photo of Colleen Carpenter

Colleen Carpenter

Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies

Education & Professional History

Harvard University, AB; University of Wisconsin-Madison, MA; University of Chicago Divinity School, MA, PhD


Professor Carpenter began her teaching and research as an independent scholar associated with Earthrise Farm, an organic farm and retreat center in western Minnesota, run by Sisters Kay and Annette Fernholz of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She then moved to St. Catherine University in St. Paul, where she is a professor in the Theology Department and Women’s Studies Program. From 2014-2017, she served as the Sister Mona Riley Endowed Professor in the Humanities, and was then named a Carondelet Scholar. Her research addresses the intersection of spirituality, the imagination, and the Earth; she is especially interested in how the stories we tell shape the world within which we live. Her work in ecotheology and ecospirituality are the context for her interest in environmental justice.


At Carleton since 2022.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Professor Carpenter spent June 2022 in Washington, D.C. as a Summer Institute Fellow for the National Endowment of the Humanities program, “Toward a People’s History of Landscape: Black and Indigenous Histories of our Nation’s Capital.” Her current research focuses on landscape, memorials, and the construction of community identity. She is author of Redeeming the Story: Women, Suffering, and Christ (Continuum, 2004) and editor of An Unexpected Wilderness: Christianity and the Natural World (Orbis, 2016). In 2020, the College Theology Society presented her with the Monika Hellwig Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Organizations & Scholarly Affiliations

American Academy of Religion

Association for Study of Literature and Environment

Catholic Theological Society of America

College Theology Society

Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Study

Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality


Current Courses

  • Fall 2022
    ENTS 210: Environmental Justice
    ENTS 248: Environmental Memoir
  • Winter 2023
    ENTS 215: Environmental Ethics
    ENTS 275: The Arts and Environmental Justice
  • Spring 2023
    ENTS 210: Environmental Justice
    ENTS 249: Troubled Waters
Photo of Colleen Carpenter


Curriculum Vitae