English Program
Cohen teaching head shot pr photo

Prof. Jason Cohen

Assistant Professor of English

At Berea College since 2008

Contact Information:

Draper, Room 222
CPO 1814
Phone: 859-985-3765
Fax: 859-985-3906
Ext: 3765
E-Mail: jason_cohen@berea.edu

Personal Website: Undergraduate Humanities eJournal

Office Hours, Spring 2016:

Mondays: 10:00-11:00am
Tuesdays:  10:00-12:00p
And by appointment.

Class Schedule:

  • ENG 186 JC (Mon/Wed: 8:00 am – 9:50 am)
  • GSTR 110 C (Mon/Wed/Fri: 2:40 pm – 3:50 pm)
  • GSTR 210 (Mon/Wed: 12:40 pm- 2:30 pm)


  • B.A. English and Cultural Theory, Tufts University, 1997
  • State Certification in Secondary Education, John Carroll University, 1999
  • MA, English Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2000
  • School for Criticism and Theory, Cornell University, 2005
  • Ph.D. English Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison , 2008

Honors and Awards

  • Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects Program, funding for Apollon: an undergraduate humanities e-journal, Berea College, Summer 2010
  • National Humanities Center Summer Fellow for Faculty Seminar, “Shakespeare in Slow Motion,” Summer 2009
  • Harvard English Institute, Travel Grant, September 2008
  • Shakespeare Assn. of America, Graduate Travel Grant, March 2008
  • Madeline C. Doran Dissertation Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, Spring 2008
  • Vilas Graduate Travel Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2008
  • Modern Language Association Graduate Travel Grant, Dec. 2007
  • Wisconsin Education Association Council Travel Grant, Fall 2007
  • English Department Graduate Travel Grant, U Wisconsin-Madison, Fall 2007
  • Harvard English Institute Travel Grant, Fall 2007
  • Graduate Travel Grant, Shakespeare Association of America, April 2007
  • Faculty Director for Caitlin Yunis, recipient of the Standish Henning Shakespeare Essay Prize, Spring 2006
  • Elaine Marks Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Summer 2005
  • Newberry Library Consortium Travel Grant, Spring 2004
  • Buchanan Research Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2004
  • Vilas Graduate Travel Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2004
  • Folger Shakespeare Library Research Grant-in-AID, Short-Term Graduate Research Award, Spring 2004
  • Center for German and European Studies (CGES) Graduate Fellowship, Fall 2003


  • ENG 200: Shakespeare: The Late Plays (X-listed with Theater)
  • ENG 201: The English Essay in its Literary and Intellectual Contexts
  • ENG 284: Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric (X-listed, Com)
  • ENG 310: Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, Film (Also listed as Eng 210)
  • ENG 343: Comparative Literary Seminar on the Early Novel
  • ENG 353: Renaissance Texts: Literary Forms of Political Language
  • ENG 451: Senior Seminar in English: Bad Politics
  • GSTR 110: Political Critiques of State Violence
  • GSTR 410: Cosmopolitanism and Its Discontents

Special Interests

  • Faculty Sponsor, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Spring 2009-present
  • Faculty Sponsor, Berea Moving Pictures Club, Spring 2010


  • American Comparative Literature Association
  • Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies
  • Modern Language Association
  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Shakespeare Association of America
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Conference on College Composition and Communication
  • Rhetoric Society of America

Papers and Publications

  • Book Review of Andrew Hadfield, Shakespeare and Republicanism, and Oliver Arnold, The Third Citizen. Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal, Winter 2009 (1525 words, refereed publication)
  • Theater Review of Much Ado About Nothing by the American Shakespeare Company at the Blackfriars Theater, Shakespeare Bulletin, Spring 2010 (1000 words, refereed publication)
  • “Cary, Mary” entry, The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature, Alan Stewart and Garrett Sullivan, eds., forthcoming from Blackwell Publishing (1000 words, refereed publication)
  • “Selden, John” entry, The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature, Alan Stewart and Garrett Sullivan, eds., forthcoming from Blackwell Publishing (1000 words, refereed publication)
  • Book Review of Sonia Massai, ed., World-Wide Shakespeares, and Ayanna Thompson, ed., Colorblind Shakespeare. Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal, Winter 2008 (1300 words, refereed publication)
  • “Introduction” to the Selected Conference Proceedings of the Newberry Library Consortium Graduate Renaissance Conference, published electronically (www.newberry.org), Dec. 2007 (ms. 8pp, invited contribution)
  • “Breaking Knowledge: Aphorism and Metonym in Francis Bacon’s Legal Writing,” Royal Society of London Conference, July 2010
  • “Returning to Paul de Man’s ‘Return to Philology,” Rhetoric Society of America: May 2010
  • “An Exorcism of Form: Hamlet’s Renaissance Ghosthumanism,” SAA: March 2010
  • “Reading Cymbeline Reading,” ACLA: Mar 2009
  • “Weird Reading: The Exceptional Politics of Macbeth’s Sisters” (seminar paper), SAA: Apr 2009
  • “Evil Politics and Nasty Promises: Laws of Nation and Nature in Macbeth” Northern Plains Conference of Early Modern British Literature: May 2009
  • “Appetitive Knowledge in Bacon’s New Organon,” Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies [GEMCS]: November 2008
  • “Islands of Labor in Bacon, Cervantes, and Shakespeare” American Comparative Literature Assn [ACLA]: Apr 2008
  • “A Posthum(o)us Dream of Science: Formalist Implications of the Mechanical and Historical Arts in Cymbeline,” Shakespeare Association of America, March 2008
  • “Great World Texts in Wisconsin,” Presentation Session, Wisconsin Education Association Council convention [WEAC]: Oct 2007
  • “‘Make vile things precious’: Abject Bodies and the Claim of Temporal Sovereignty in King Lear,” Shakespeare Association of America conference seminar paper [SAA]: Apr 2007
  • “‘Miraculous Evangelism’ and the Rhetoric of Conversion in Bacon’s New Atlantis,” Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies [GEMCS]: Feb 2007
  • “Not for Publication: Bacon’s Manuscript Audience, 1603-09,” article under review at a scholarly journal
  • Theater Review of the Repertory Shakespeare Season, All’s Well that Ends Well, Taming of the Shrew, and Othello, by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, forthcoming in Shakespeare Bulletin, Fall 2010 (2000 words, refereed publication)

Research Programs

My current research focuses on the intersections of natural and political philosophy and literature in seventeenth century English and Continental prose and drama. In particular, I am developing two book projects, the first of which, Political by Nature: Forms of the Subject in Francis Bacon’s Thought, focuses on how Francis Bacon’s natural philosophy shaped his mature policy treatises for the Stuart court as well as international audiences. My second book project, Bad Will: The Force of Nature in Shakespeare’s Later Works, investigates the problematic roles of natural and social systems in Shakespeare’s mature works in order to claim that “bad will” is linked intimately to the problems of social and natural decay that the plays stage.


In the classroom, I help my students understand how research interests form crucial supplements to the work of thinking deeply, reading trenchantly, and writing precisely. Further, as a part of a community, I regularly ask what outreach means in the contexts of teaching and academic life at Berea. Berea embraces students who combine promise with need; I, too, embrace scholarly commitments alongside the more immediate demands of the classroom, college, and community.

The thinking I encourage in my classrooms is fundamentally synthetic, and I focus classroom discussion as well as reading and writing on the articulation of authentic problems. I see the development of tools that are good to think with as a way to empower my students to “pose problems,” following Paolo Freire’s term in the seminal Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as well as to articulate their responses to such problems authentically. My own training is comparative in nature: I position my scholarship and my teaching similarly at the intersection of literature and philosophy with a particular attention in the classroom to the ways that intersection speaks to film studies, and literary and cultural theory.

Writing is not only good to think with, per se: writing is thinking. The primary mode of writing that I encourage my students to explore is argument-driven analytical writing. Students in my courses write in new modes and challenging formats; they engage in the recursive practices of revision, peer review, research, and the bricolage of critical projects from texts and problems that are good to think with; they write and review writing in pencil, ink, and on screen at various stages of the composition process; they engage in mimetic practices like writing a Platonic dialogue, scripting a manifesto, or developing a paragraph using formal constraints.

I teach my students that their reading should consider the distinctive language and thoughts expressed in a particular passage, enabling them to discover and eventually articulate an insight that they can mark as their own, and thus, to explicate a text with persuasion and originality. Consequently, one of my main goals is to train all my students to read slowly, to read repeatedly, to read as an interpretive practice.


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