Jonathan Cohen

Senior Program Officer for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Chapter Member: Boston SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Jonathan

Cohen's research focuses on state-level gambling policy as it relates to issues of economic inequality and state-level tax policy. Overarching themes in Cohen's writings include changing rates in social mobility, the consequences of deindustrialization, and the role of the state in promoting the spread of gambling.

In the News

Opinion: "Many Americans Believe the Economy Is Rigged," Jonathan Cohen (with Katherine Cramer), The New York Times, February 21, 2024.
Opinion: "How Lottery Money Helped Build the United States," Jonathan Cohen, Vox, October 24, 2018.
Opinion: "Lottery is Robin Hood in Reverse," Jonathan Cohen, CommonWealth Magazine, October 20, 2018.


"All In: Gambling in the Twentieth Century United States" (with David G. Schwartz) (University of Nevada Press, 2018).

Provides a closer look at the shifting economic, cultural, religious, and political conditions that facilitated gambling’s expansion and prominence in American consumerism and popular culture. 

"Can Music Save Your Mortal Soul?’: A Bibliographic Survey of Rock as Religion" Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies 7, no. 1 (2016): 46-86.

Explores what scholars, critics, and other authors since the early 1970s have written concerning what I call the "rock-religion phenomenon," i.e. the religious constructions of rock music and the experiences of spirituality and contact with the numinous through rock music.

"Lost in the Flood: Bruce Springsteen’s Political Consciousness and the Vietnam War, 1968-2014" in Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music: Rhetoric, Social Consciousness, and Contemporary Culture, edited by William I. Wolff (Routledge Press, 2017), 17-30.

Reveals the evolution of Springsteen's political consciousness proves more complex than previously discussed.

"This is Your Hometown: Collective Memory, Industrial Flight, and the Fate of Freehold, New Jersey" New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2, no. 1 (2016): 185-212.

Analyzes the conditions that prompted shutdowns in Freehold, illustrating the role of broader market forces as well as internal company dynamics in driving capital flight. 

"Spaceflight and the Separation of Church and State" Astropolitics 11 (2013): 100-107.

Explains how instances of religious expression by astronauts aboard NASA spacecraft present a unique encounter between American space policy and legal jurisprudence.