Jean L. Cohen

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Jean Louise Cohen (born November 18, 1946) is the Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Political Thought at Columbia University.[1] She specializes in contemporary political and legal theory with particular research interests in democratic theory, critical theory, Civil society, gender and the law.

Academic career[edit]

She received her PhD in 1979 from the New School for Social Research. She served as Assistant Professor of Social Science at Bennington College from 1980-1983 and as Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley (1984) before coming to Columbia. Cohen has been Associate Editor of the journals Telos, Constellations and Dissent. She was elected one of the three editors in chief of Constellations in May 2014. Her current projects concern rethinking state and popular sovereignty in the epoch of globalization, as well as defending the law-making capacities of secular polities from religiously motivated legal pluralism. Jean L. Cohen serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Council's journal, Ethics & International Affairs.[2][3] Civil Society and Political Theory, co-authored with Andrew Arato, is viewed by many as a seminal text on contemporary civil society.[citation needed]

Research interests[edit]

Cohen's areas of research are: sovereignty, international law, global justice, governance, contemporary political theory, continental political theory, Germany, France, American legal theory, feminist theory, civil society, privacy, gender and sexuality, social movements, rights, and state and religion.


Articles and Chapters[edit]


  • Cohen, J. L. (1982). Class and civil society: The limits of Marxian critical theory. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 9780870233807
  • Cohen, J. L., & Arato, A. (1997). Civil society and political theory. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262270519
  • Cohen, J. L. (2002). Regulating intimacy: A new legal paradigm. Princeton, N.J: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 9781400825035
  • Cohen, J. L. (2012). Globalization and sovereignty: Rethinking legality, legitimacy and constitutionalism. ISBN 9780521765855
  • Changing paradigms of citizenship and the exclusiveness of the demos