American Studies

Michael Mark Cohen

Associate Teaching Professor - American Studies and African American Studies

Office Hours

Spring 2024

Wednesdays, 2-4, in Social Sciences Building 674

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’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, al-Jazeera English, The Huffington Post, The New Ohio Review, The Comics Journal and on You can find his digital archive of early 20th century socialist cartoons at You can find a video of his public lecture on the work of Thomas Pynchon here, and his public advocacy work here.


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

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