MEET CHARLES COHEN

BIO

Charles L. Cohen is E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions, Emeritus, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined that faculty in 1984, having taken his B.A. at Yale and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and retired at the end of 2017. He has written about colonial British North America, American religious history, and the braided histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His scholarship has been recognized by, among other awards, the Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians for his work on the psychology of Puritan religious experience, terms on the councils of both the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the American Society for Church History, and appointment as a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. He serves on the editorial board of Religion and American Culture. He has co-edited, among other books, Gods in America: Religious Pluralism in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2013), and The Future of Interreligious Dialogue: A Multireligious Conversation on Nostra Aetate, (Orbis Press, 2017). Oxford University Press will publish The Abrahamic Religions: A Very Short Introduction in 2019. He has lectured at, among other venues, Oxford University, the New York Public Library, Tokyo University, and a high school in Astana, Kazakhstan. He was a Visiting Scholar at Nazarbayev University in Astana in 2013, as well as the Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky Fellow at Temple Beth El (Madison, WI) and a panelist at the Tenth Annual Conference of the Doha (Qatar) International Center for Interfaith Dialogue. His teaching was honored by two awards from the UW-Madison History Department, as well as the Emil Steiger Award for Excellence by UW-Madison, and a Phi Beta Kappa award from UW-Madison. He created UW-Madison’s Advanced Placement Summer Institute in 1993; directed the Religious Studies Program from 1997-2005; and, from 2005-16, served as Founding Director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions, whose mission was to create better understandings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by encouraging ongoing discussion of these traditions and their interrelationships among scholars, members of those traditions, and the general public. He sits on the Religious Practices Advisory Committee, Department of Corrections, State of Wisconsin, and has recently joined the boards of both We Are Many—United Against Hate, and Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. 

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