Andrew Wender Cohen is an associate professor of history at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs specializing in American law and political economy. His first book, The Racketeer’s Progress: Chicago and the Struggle for the Modern American Economy, 1900–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2004), shows the contingency of contemporary commercial life by exploring the world of the urban tradesmen—teamsters, barbers, musicians, and others—who violently resisted its development.
While at the Radcliffe Institute, Cohen will begin a book on the history of smuggling in the United States during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Considering global trade, empire, and the racial and sexual contours of American identity, he will ask how the emerging state regulated contact between US citizens and the world, seeking to understand customhouses as institutions governing the economy, defining the nation, and outlining the rules for empire. He will also explore how illicit trade in sugar, opium, silk, diamonds, tobacco, and art prompted intense popular anxiety, revealing America’s ambivalent embrace of economic expansion, hedonistic consumption, and colonialism.
In 2005, Cohen received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for the top untenured professor in Syracuse’s social science division. He has won fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Newberry Library, the University of Wisconsin Law School, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the American Historical Association, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He received his PhD with distinction from the University of Chicago in 1999.