Cathy J. Cohen
Cathy J. Cohen (born 1962) is an American author, feminist and social activist whose work has focused on the African-American experience in politics from a perspective which is underlined by intersectionality. A former Director of the Center for the Study of Race (2002–05), she is currently David and Mary Winton Green Professor in Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She received her BA from Miami University; Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1993 and began her academic career at Yale University where she received tenure. Professor Cohen joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 2002.
As an academic activist Cohen frequently writes and speaks about gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, and their interrelatedness, and connection to power. This approach puts her in a class of leftist intellectuals who work to have social and public policy influence the lives of marginalized groups in a positive way. Cohen, a black lesbian and a parent, is the principal researcher on the www.blackyouthproject.com, and is the author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and The Future of American Politics and Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics among others. She is also the co-author of a study on New Media and Youth Political Action, which is part of the Youth and Participatory Politics survey project. Her book Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics explores how issues such as age, gender, sexuality and the growing AIDs epidemic shape the acceptance boundaries within the African American community. She was also on the board of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press as well as the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at CUNY. Along with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto, Cohen is also a co-editor of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader (NYU, 1997). Due to all her hard work she has received a number of awards, including but not limited to the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator’s Award, and the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Fellowship.
Professor Cohen is one of the founding board members of the Audre Lorde Project and is active in a number of organizations working on social justice issues. She moderated the plenary of the Applied Research Center's 2010 conference "Popularizing Racial Justice", and has served as secretary of the American Political Science Association (APSA). Cohen has also served as an active member in numerous organizations such as the Black Radical Congress, African American Women in Defense of Ourselves and the United Coalition Against Racism. She currently serves as a Board Member of the Arcus Foundation and a Governing Board member of the University of Chicago’s four charter schools.Cohen is the recipient of numerous awards including the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator’s Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Fellowship, and two major research grants from the Ford Foundation for her work as principal investigator of the Black Youth Project and the Mobilization, Change and Political and Civic Engagement Project. Cohen serves on a number of national and local advisory boards and is the co-editor with Frederick Harris of a book series at Oxford University Press entitled “Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities.” Cohen is currently working on a book project focusing on the lives and political world of black youth. In 2013, Cohen gave the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College in late January of last year. Her lecture was entitled “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Age of Obama: Building a New Movement for the 21st Century”.
In addition Cohen was a strong advocate for putting an end to gun violence in major cities. In her article "Still Waiting for a Comprehensive Discussion of Urban Gun Violence" Cohen praises the Obama Administration's efforts to end gun violence. However she continues to express that there is still much work to be done with respect to firearms in urban areas, Citing the death of a 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton as an example of an unnecessary victim.
Cohen wrote “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?,” published in 1997. In her writing, Cohen asserts that queer communities and queer politics she has encountered re solidify heteronormative institutions because she feels that the queer community defines itself primarily in relation to the heterosexual community, thereby strengthening this binary. The queer communities also try to assimilate into a heteronormative community by privileging institutions like marriage, monetary success and the nuclear family. Instead, Cohen believes it would be more profitable to disassemble this heteropatriarchal institution already, as it is inherently oppressive. Cohen suggests that queer politics should focus less on queerness and more on creating solidarity across many forms of oppression. By placing queerness at the forefront of identity, queer politics reiterates a space that privileges whiteness and the upper class. Cohen asserts that queer communities need to focus efforts on forming solidarity across many histories of oppression.
- Race and health
- Audre Lorde Project, an LGBTSTGNC organization for people of color in New York City, named for Audre Lorde
- Teaching for social justice
- Black Feminism
- Critical social theory
- Cultural Studies
- bell hooks
- LGBT and multiculturalism
- ""Cathy J. Cohen, Secretary - University of Chicago", American Political Science Association (APSA)". Apsanet.org. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Conference Speech". Youtube.com. 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Cathy J. Cohen on youth political action and new media". Wbez.org. 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics, Cohen". Press.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Black Youth Project Research (Cathy J Cohen)". Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Cathy J. Cohen, Secretary | APSA". Apsanet.org. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Cathy J. Cohen". Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "The RObert Wood Johnson Foundation". Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Video Interview". Hiphoparchive.org. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Facing Race in the Tea Party Era" Making Contact, produced by National Radio Project. November 30, 2010.
- Cohen, Cathy. "Cathy J. Cohen". blackyouthproject. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- Cohen, Cathy. "University of Chicago Interview: Cathy Cohen, "Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics"". National Cable Satellite Corporation. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- Thomas. "Dr. Cathy J. Cohen to Give Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture".
- Cohen, Cathy (February 14, 2013). "Still Waiting for a Comprehensive Discussion on Urban Gun Violence". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Cohen, Cathy J. (1997). "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics".