Ben Ratskoff, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish History and Culture

Contact Information

school/program: Louchheim School for Judaic Studies, Rabbinical School (US)
academic field: Contemporary Jewish Studies, History, Jewish Language and Literature
campus: Los Angeles
phone: (213) 765-2150
extension: 4250

Dr. Ben Ratskoff is the Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish History and Culture at HUC-JIR’s Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. He received his doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of California-Los Angeles in 2021. Ratskoff’s dissertation, Waltzing with Hitler: Black Writers, the Third Reich, and Demonic Grounds of Comparison, 1936-1940, analyzed the idiosyncratic and ambivalent ways Black writers in the United States and French Empire perceived Nazism in real-time and put antisemitism and white supremacy in relation. Ratskoff has published in various scholarly journals, including Jewish Studies Quarterly and Studies in American Jewish Literature, and was the 2020 First Place Winner of the American Jewish Press Association Award for Excellence in Single Commentary. Ratskoff has been an invited speaker at various international venues, including the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin and the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism in London.

Academic Articles and Book Chapters
“James Baldwin’s Black Critique of Jewish Whiteness” in Jewish Studies Quarterly 27, no. 3 (2020), pp. 240-260

“Improbable Spectacles: White Supremacy, Christian Hegemony, and the Dark Side of the Judenfrage,” in Studies in American Jewish Literature 39, no. 1, Special Issue: Trump and the “Jewish Question,” eds. Neil Levi and Michael Rothberg (2020), pp. 17-43

“Splattering the Object: Césaire, Nazi Racism, and the Colonial” in Caribbean-Jewish Crossings: Atlantic Literature and Theory, eds. Sarah Phillips Casteel and Heidi Kaufman, University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, VA: 2019), pp. 177-197

Translator from Yiddish, “Oyf a Yiddishe Beys-Oylam in Sahara,” by Benjamin Lubelski for Wartime North Africa: Jews, Muslims, and Christians Under Occupation, Race Laws, and Interment, ed. Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein (Stanford University Press, published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2022)

Jews, Judaism, and Race

The Holocaust (USC)

Modern Jewish History

Antisemitism, Racism, and Other Hatreds (USC)

Representing the Holocaust in Literature and Film

Postwar Memory, Memorialization, and Justice

University of California-Los Angeles, Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, 2021

University of California-Los Angeles, M.A. in Comparative Literature, 2017

Northwestern University, B.A. (Honors) in English Literature and African American Studies, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2013