Research Associate Professor
Michael David Cohen is a historian and documentary editor who specializes in the history of politics and of education in the nineteenth-century United States. He is the editor of the James K. Polk Project, which most recently published volume 12 of the Correspondence of James K. Polk and released all twelve published volumes online. His book, Reconstructing the Campus: Higher Education and the American Civil War, shows how the Civil War and Reconstruction helped to shape America’s modern colleges and universities and the federal government’s education policy. It won the 2014 Linda Eisenmann Prize from the History of Education Society and the 2014 Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association.
Dr. Cohen’s work has appeared in New England Quarterly and Perspectives on the History of Higher Education. He has contributed articles to Disunion, the New York Times’ blog on the Civil War, and was interviewed in a radio documentary about Sarah Childress Polk, the president’s wife, for the Voice of America’s Korean Service. In March 2016 he delivered the annual Presidential Lecture at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Before coming to the University of Tennessee, he worked at the Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony at Rutgers University.
Currently Dr. Cohen is completing volume 13 of the Correspondence of James K. Polk, which will be published in spring 2017, and preparing volume 14, the last in the series.
U.S. antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras; political history; history of education; documentary editing; women’s and gender history
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2008
B.A., Carleton College, 2002
- Editor, Correspondence of James K. Polk, vol. 13, August 1847–March 1848. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, in press.
- Coeditor, Correspondence of James K. Polk, vol. 12, January–July 1847. Edited by Tom Chaffin and Michael David Cohen. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2013.
- “James K. Polk and the Mystery of Amor Patriæ.” New England Quarterly 86, no. 2 (June 2013): 266–92.
- Assistant editor, The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, vol. 6, An Awful Hush, 1895 to 1906. Edited by Ann D. Gordon. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2013.
- Reconstructing the Campus: Higher Education and the American Civil War. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012.