Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus
Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature
Professor Emeritus of Art and Design
- Ph.D. (English), University of Iowa, 1970
- A.B. (English), Cornell University, 1967
Eric Rabkin is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus, Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature, and Professor Emeritus of Art and Design 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.
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.
Rabkin has over one-hundred-seventy publications, including his most recent book Visions of Mars (ed. with Howard Hendrix and George Slusser; 2011). He has lectured widely, to both general and academic audiences, on fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, graphic narrative, humor, American literature, literary theory, culture studies, pedagogy, composition, administration, and information technology. Rabkin has served as a consultant to 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). He received the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction scholarship (2010).