Facts about Ben

  • Name and Age: Ben Dorfman, 44 years old
  • Job and education: Associate Professor of Intellectual and Cultural History and Chair of the Board of Languages and International Studies; a Ph.D. in Modern European History
  • Study: Political philosophy and History


  1. Describe yourself using three words

Honest, passionate and humorous.

  1. During your childhood, what did you want to become growing up?

Either an archeologist or a philosopher.

  1. What are you academically most proud of?

Helping to develop the Language and International Studies programmes. It’s been a big task with a lot of challenges, but also a lot of rewards. The nicest thing about that has been transforming the programme into one of the few BA-programmes in the humanities that takes an international student, so it’s full BA-student. Taking that programme has been my greatest joy here.

  1. What would you do if you won 10 million DKK?

The first thing I think I would do is I would treat myself with a classic Porsche 911 from the late 70s or early 80s. And then the rest of it would either go to some existing humanitarian organizations or possibly towards some seed money to start a political party of my own.

  1. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Does it have to be illegal? I went to two universities as an undergraduate and the first one will remain unnamed. Well, I guess one of the craziest, or perhaps funniest thing I’ve ever done was working with painting dormitories for that university as a Summer job one year. And, together with some of my roommates, we were renting a small house in the town near the university that I was going to. We had the idea that it would be super cool if the ground floor of that house was fully covered with mattresses – the only question was: Where did one get that many mattresses? But, fortunately, as it turned out, working in dormitories and painting stuff in dormitory rooms gives you a large access to a lot of mattresses. So, we – and again the university will go unnamed; I think the statute of limitations on this is run out, so nobody can come find me – backed up my friend’s truck up to a window and shoved 30 mattresses in the back of this truck. So that’s one of my many crazy, funny experiences

  1. Which famous person, dead or alive, would you want to meet the most?

That’s always a big question, but I think I would say: Malcolm X

  1. What is the worst thing about your job?

That would definitely be how complicated the administration at this institution is. The systems here are extremely complex to negotiate and while I understand that they’re oriented towards certain levels of fairness and equality, they can sometimes be awfully constraining in terms of offering the maximum level of contact and togetherness with the students. So I would say that some of the budgetary practices and some of the systems behind the administration are some of the things that I am least enthusiastic about.

  1. What is your favorite dish?

Beef vindaloo.

  1. Which animal do you want to be?

Bald eagle. Because it’s a beautiful animal, an absolutely lovely creature. Its sort of grace and majesty and the way in which it relates to the world around it. Something about it is just appealing.

  1. What is your current project?

Working on the second volume of a book I published this Summer about essays of human rights issues.