Michael Mark Cohen
Michael Mark Cohen
Associate Teaching Professor of American Studies and African American Studies
Michael Mark Cohen was born in Denver, Colorado, the child of two public school teachers. He holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University (2004). He is currently an Associate Teaching Professor at UCB with a joint appointment in American Studies and African American Studies. His general research and teaching areas cover the cultural and political history of the United States from the Civil War to the Present. Areas of emphasis include racial capitalism and racial formations in the United States; labor, work and radical social movements; Marx and the Marxist tradition in world history and theory; cultural studies, popular culture and US film and literature; theories of conspiracy and conspiracy theories; political cartooning and comic books; race and drugs in US history; and contemporary US politics and social change.
Prof. Cohen won the American Cultures Innovation in Teaching Prize in 2011.
Recent course offerings include:
AFAM 27AC: Lives of Struggle: Minorities in a Majority Culture
AFAM 113AC / ENGLISH 166AC: Racial Capitalism
AFAM 142AC: Race and American Film
AFAM / PUBPOL C20AC: Election 2020 (Fall 2020) – Full course available on Youtube
AFAM 240: Special Topics in the Cultural Studies of the Diaspora: Readings in Racial Capitalism
L&S 25: Arts & Design @Berkeley: California Countercultures (Spring 2017) – Full course available on Youtube
AMST 101: A History of the Present: The US Since 9/11/2001
AMST 101AC: World War II
AMST 102: The Workplace
AMST 110: Readings in Cultural Theory
AMST: H110: The Secret History of America
Prof. Cohen’s research and publication record focuses on questions of racism, class struggle and American social movements. His book The Conspiracy of Capital: Law, Violence and American Popular Radicalism in the Age of Monopoly was published by University of Massachusetts Press in 2019. His academic writings have appeared in American Quarterly, The International Review of Social History, Radical History Review, Qui Parle, Journal of the Study of Radicalism, and Southern Cultures. His writings for a popular audience have appeared in Gawker.com, al-Jazeera English, The Huffington Post, The New Ohio Review, The Comics Journal and on Medium.com. You can find his digital archive of early 20th century socialist cartoons at www.cartooningcapitalism.com. You can find a video of his public lecture on the work of Thomas Pynchon here, and his public advocacy work here.
Select Reviews of The Conspiracy of Capital
Astra Taylor, “In Defense of Liberal Conspirators,” The New Republic, May 6, 2020.
“Teaching the Introduction to American Studies Course: A Dialogue.” Co-Authored with Grace Wang. Forum on Engaging Contradictions: Teaching and Pedagogy in American Studies, American Quarterly (June 2016).
“Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For,” Gawker.com, Posted October 19, 2014. / Originally posted on October 12, 2014 at Medium.com.
As of 2023 this essay has been viewed more that 2 million times.
Digital Humanities Projects
Cartooning Capitalism: Art Young & the Cartoons of American Radicalism
An on-line archive of radical cartoons drawn by Art Young and other socialist and labor artists of the early twentieth century. Site went live on August 1, 2014 and is constantly maintained and updated.
The Secret History of America
A collective research and writing seminar in American Studies (2015-Present).
“Pandemic Elections Survival Edition,” Posted December 10, 2020.
Featured by UC Berkeley News 7/19/2016
Review of Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity ed. by Louis P. Nelson, Claudrena N. Harold, and Summer of Hate: Charlottesville, USA, by Hawes Spencer. Journal of Southern History, vol. 85 no. 4, 2019.
Select Television, Radio and Media Appearances
Democracy Now! Television and Radio interview, November 17, 2009.
“Why Are We Destroying Public Education? University of California Students and Staff Prepare for System-Wide Strike to Protest Cuts.”