Stephen O'Leary studied comparative religion at Harvard University, took his Ph.D. in Communication Studies at Northwestern University and is currently an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His research lies in the intersection of the fields of religion and media. He is the author of Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric and is presently working on a book about the controversy over climate change and global warming.
O'Leary is a 2012 Interdisciplinary Research Group Fellow, whose research will investigate how arguments over global warming and the environment have affected churches, denominations, and religious communities. His analysis will focus on public manifestos like the 2006 Evangelical Climate Initiative (which provoked hostile attacks from many Christian quarters) and on the controversies over such statements before and after their release (or over whether to issue such statements at all). O'Leary will conduct interviews with Christian leaders who participated in these controversies and/or contributed to the authorship of the documents that are the main focus of his analysis, and will use a rhetoric/media studies perspective to analyze the documents and the arguments and controversies they provoked.