Speculative Speakers Directory: Eric Rabkin

Eric Rabkin


Ann Arbor





Eric S. Rabkin is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His current research interests include fantasy and science fiction, graphic narrative, the quantitative study of culture, traditional literary criticism and theory, and academic computing. Rabkin lectures widely, to both general and academic audiences, on fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, humor, American literature, literary theory, culture studies, pedagogy, composition, administration, and information technology. He has had lecture tours in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Asia, and, from 1990 through 1996, offered a regular Commentary on language and culture topics on WUOM-FM radio. Selected recent public lectures in the U.S. and abroad: "The Role of Science Fiction in American Culture" "Science Fiction, Perceptions of Science, and the Future of Nanotechnology", "How the Future Shapes the Present: A Brief History of the Bow Wave of Material Culture""Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism", "The Technological Imagination: From Ancient Egypt to Modern Business", "Metamorphosis, the Mechanisms of Repression, and the Evolution of the Unconscious in European Literature", "Visual Rhetoric for Pre-Literate Readers", "The Structure of the Fantastic and the Grammar of Graphic Narrative", "Time and Rhythm in Literature and Painting", "Mars and the Evolution of Thought" is available free online at http://esmane.physics.lsa.umich.edu/wlap-cwis/browser.php?ResourceId=432.Masterpieces of the Imaginative: Literature's Most Fantastic Works, a course consisting of 24 half-hour lectures on fantasy and science fiction, is available from The Teaching Company. All lectures use visual materials and some also audio materials. As a teacher, Rabkin is especially known for his large, popular lecture courses on science fiction and fantasy, and for his many teaching innovations, including the development of the highly successful Practical English writing program for those who will use writing in their work lives, and for his work at all levels, including faculty training, in research and communication applications of computer technologies. He received the University Teaching Award (1990), the LS&A Excellence in Education Award (2000), and the Golden Apple Award (2006) given annually by the students for the outstanding teacher at the University of Michigan. As an administrator, Rabkin has filled many roles at the University of Michigan. He was co-founder and first director (1976-82) of the university-wide Collegiate Institute for Values and Science. As Associate Dean for Long Range Planning for the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (1979-83), he helped guide College-wide restructuring during difficult economic times; he developed the College planning system now linking departmental review, academic planning, and hiring; and he established the position of Minority Affairs Officer, of which he was the first occupant. He served as Interim Chair of the Department of Linguistics and, simultaneously, as Interim Director of the English Language Institute (1982-84). As the University's Acting Director of Academic Information Processes (1997-98), he helped lead improvement and innovation in the development and uses of academic information technology both intramurally and extramurally. As a writer, Rabkin has over one-hundred-sixty publications, including thirty-two books written, co-written, edited, or co-edited, including Narrative Suspense (1973); The Fantastic in Literature (1976); Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision (with Robert Scholes, 1977); Teaching Writing That Works: A Group Approach to Practical English (with Macklin Smith, 1990); It's A Gas: A Study of Flatulence (with Eugene M. Silverman, 1991); Stories: An Anthology and an Introduction (1995); The Rise and Fall of Twentieth Century Formula Fiction (ed. with Carlo Pagetti, 2001), Mars: A Tour of the Human Imagination (2005); and Masterpieces of the Imaginative Mind (2007). As a consultant, Rabkin has served over sixty publishers, journals, and other organizations and is the founder of Write On Target, a corporate communications consulting firm. Rabkin's awards include a Fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies (1973), research funding from the American Philosophical Society (1991), and the University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (2005). Rabkin lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Elizabeth Rabkin, a retired elementary-school teacher. They have two children, David Ivan (b. 1970) and Rachel Ann (b. 1975), and two grandchildren.

Date Entered

Fantasy: General, Science Fiction: General, Science Fiction: Writing, Technology: Information Age

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