Jean Cohen (Ph.D., New School for Social Research, 1979) is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization. She teaches contemporary political and legal theory; continental political thought; rights, religion and constitutional democracy; contemporary civilization, critical theory, and international political theory. Professor Cohen's areas of interest are sovereignty, human rights, religion and democratic constitutionalism, and gender and the law.
Professor Cohen is the author of numerous books and articles including Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory (University of Massachusetts Press, 1982); Civil Society and Political Theory (co-authored with Andrew Arato) (MIT Press, 1992); Regulating Intimacy: A New Legal Paradigm (Princeton University Press, 2002); and Globalization and Sovereignty: Rethinking Legality, Legitimacy and Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2012). She is the co-editor with Yoav Peled et al. of Democratic Citizenship and War (Routledge 2011) and with Cecile Laborde of the forthcoming volume Religion, Secularism and Constitutional Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2015). She has published over 60 articles in journals such as Constellations, Ethics and International Affairs, Global Constitutionalism, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Political Theory, Social Research, Telos, and Thesis 11, among others, in addition to chapters in many edited books.
Professor Cohen is the recipient of Columbia University's Distinguished Faculty Award (the prestigious Lenfest Award) for excellence in teaching and research (February 2013) and the Distinguished Alumna Award from The New School for Social Research (May 2013). She has received many other fellowships and honors and has taught abroad numerous times in Germany (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt), France (Collège de France, Sciences Po, La Sorbonne, Paris), Italy (University of Pisa), and Canada (University of Toronto Law School). Her work is translated into numerous languages including Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Swedish. She will be a Senior Fellow at the Jean Monnet Institute at New York University Law School in Spring 2016. She was elected co-editor of Constellations: A Journal of Radical Democracy in 2014. She also serves on the board of many other journals in the field. Professor Cohen is currently on the board of several institutes at Columbia University including the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL), the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS), the Blinken Institute for European Studies, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWAG) and La Maison Française.
Her current work is focused on democratic constitutionalism and the discourse of religious freedom: the challenges that "accommodation" and religious legal pluralism pose to liberalism, democratic legitimacy, the rule of law and constitutional democracy.