Dr John Benjamin official photo

Dr. John Benjamin

Assistant Professor of German



Dr. John Benjamin is Assistant Professor of German in the Department of Foreign Languages. He earned his PhD in Germanic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2019), following an MA from Princeton University (2011) and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley (2005), both in German. From 2003-2004, he studied abroad at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin and, in 2008, attended Polish courses at the Szkoła Języków Obcych Prolog in Krakow.

Prior to joining DFL, he taught courses in German language, literature, culture, and language teaching at Princeton University (including four courses abroad in Berlin), The College of New Jersey, Westminster Choir College, the University of Manchester, and the University of Texas at Austin. He also taught English in Austria to high school students through the Austrian-American Educational Commission/Fulbright Program (2005-2006). He has worked as Editorial Assistant at the German Studies Review (2017-2018) and cofounded the Texas Polish Dialect Project in 2017 to document the longest-surviving Polish dialect native to North America.

At USMA, beyond teaching German language and literature courses, he also supports Cadets by assisting with the Kościuszko Squadron Polish Cultural Forum and the German Forum. Within DFL, his service includes a leadership role in the Best Practices Brown Bag Lunch series to promote faculty discussions on teacher development. To improve his own teaching, he is currently participating in USMA’s Master Teacher Program.

His scholarship focuses on applied linguistics and language teaching, research on reading, multimodality, German comics and visual culture, Polish literature, and Texas Polish. His dissertation considers how second-language learners read German comics as examples of multimodal texts. His publications focus on language instruction, including a coauthored article forthcoming in Die Unterrichtspraxis, “Is’ mir egal: Guided Multimodal Reading of a Music Video Advertisement,” and German cultural studies and comics, including a 2019 article in The German Quarterly, “Relocating the Text: Mosaik and the Creation of a German East German comics tradition.”

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Before Photography: German Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. (Edited volume in preparation with Vance Byrd & Kit Belgum)
  • Texas Polish Dialect Project (linguistics field research with Agnieszka Makles).

Publications & Presentations


  • Benjamin, J., Donohue-Bergeler, D., Fuchs, K., & Lorenz, A. Is' mir egal: Guided multimodal reading of a music video advertisement. Die Unterrichtspraxis. (In press)
  • Lorenz, A., Crane, C., Benjamin, J., & Boas, H. L2 German learners’ use and perceptions of an online semantic frame-based dictionary for vocabulary learning. Die Unterrichtspraxis. (In press)
  • Benjamin, J. (2019). Relocating the text: Mosaik and the creation of a German East German comics tradition. The German Quarterly, 92(2), 148–165. 
  • Benjamin, J. (2018). Review of the book series Deutsch3: Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache, by I. Margill, A. Schlüter, & THiLo. Die Unterrichtspraxis, 50(2), 206–208.
  • Benjamin, J. (2017). Review of the book Deutsche Sprachkomik: Ein Überblick für Übersetzer und Germanisten, R. Kohlmayer. Yearbook of German-American Studies, 52. (In press)
  • Benjamin, J., Donohue-Bergeler, D., Fuchs, K., & Lorenz, A. (2017). Alles offen: Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel und Weltoffenheit. Foreign Languages and the Literary in the Everyday (FLLITE) [Lesson Plan]. https://fllite.org/alles-offen-offentliche-verkehrsmittel-und-weltoffen…


  • “Comics in Early Popliteratur: Intermediality in Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's Die Piloten and ACID.” Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Portland, OR, October, 2019.
  • “Reading the German Graphic Novel: Understanding Learners’ Readings of Multimodal Literary Comics.” Berliner Comic-Kolloquium, Berlin, Germany, June, 2019 (invited talk).
  • “Understanding Multimodal Reading: An Approach to Assessing the L2 Reading of Prose and Comics.” Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association, Chicago, IL, January, 2019.
  • “Assessing Reading Across Modalities: A Rubric for L2 Instructors.” Annual Convention of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages, New Orleans, LA, November, 2018.
  • “Ways of Reading: On the Diversity of Second-Language German Comics Readers.” Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Pittsburgh, PA, September, 2018.
  • “Mosaik, an East German Comic: The Development of a German Comics Form.” 7th Biennial Graduate Student Conference of the Department of Germanic Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, April, 2018.
  • “German Frame-Semantic Online Lexicon (G-FOL): L2 Learners’ Perceptions of Using Online Dictionaries for Vocabulary Learning.” Constructionist Approaches to Language Pedagogy-3, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, February, 2018 (with Alexander Lorenz).