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Benjamin Rifkin

Professor of Russian and Professor of Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics


PHD, 1990, University Michigan; AM, 1987, University Michigan; MA, 1983, Yale Univ; BA, 1983, Yale Univ


Dr. Benjamin Rifkin is Professor of Russian at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. His teaching and research interests lie in foreign language education, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, and contemporary Russian film.  He has taught courses on Russian literature, film, applied linguistics, and methods of teaching foreign languages, including graduate and freshmen seminars, as well as Russian language courses from first- through fifth-year Russian. Rifkin has published over two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals both in the USA and Russia, as well as chapters in edited volumes on these topics. He is the author or co-author of textbooks for Russian including Advanced Russian through History (Yale University Press), and Panorama:  Intermediate Russian Language and Culture (Georgetown U. Press).  Rifkin was the leader of the RAILS (Russian Advanced Interactive Listening Series) Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by a grant from the US Department of Education.  He has served on the Editorial Board of the Slavic & East European Journal, the Russian Language Journal, the NECTFL Review, and the Foreign Language Annals. He has also served on the boards of directors of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (and served as president of the association), the American Council of Teachers of Russian, the Northeast Conference (on Language Teaching), the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the NJ Council for the Humanities. He has been recognized by awards for scholarship (AATSEEL), teaching and advising (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and service (AATSEEL, ACTR, Middlebury College) and most recently, the Interfaith Service Award from the Islamic Center of Long Island and the Wilga Rivers Award for Excellence in Leadership for Foreign Language Education from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

International Expertise: Rifkin participated in study abroad at Leningrad State University while a junior at Yale and after completion of his studies at Yale worked for two years in Moscow, as a translator for Progress Publishers and part-time as an interpreter for the Moscow Bureau of NBC News.

A fluent speaker of Russian, Rifkin publishes in journals in Russia and has given media interviews in Russian to the Russian-language press. He periodically gives scholarly talks and workshops in Russian at Russian universities, including Moscow State University (Moscow) and Herzen State Pedagogical University (St. Petersburg) on issues in the area of foreign language teacher education, foreign language teaching methods, and the US system of higher education.

Over the course of his career in higher education, he has advised hundreds of students on study abroad options in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Teaching Interests

Russian language, literature, film; Applied Linguistics; Foreign Language Teacher Education

Research Interests

Foreign Language Teacher Education; Liberal Arts in the Context of American Higher Education
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