Cathy Cohen

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Cathy Cohen is a political science professor at the University of Chicago and former director of The Center on Race, Politics and Culture there. She is author of Boundaries of Blackness, a landmark book on the Black community response to the AIDS crisis, a book on women and politics, and numerous articles and essays. She is a longtime activist in a range of Black community, feminist and LGBT organizations[1].

She lectures widely and supports numerous progressive organizations.

She is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is also the Deputy Provost for Graduate Education and the former Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago.

Cohen is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (university of Chicago Press, 1999). In addition to her academic work, Cohen has always been politically active. She was a founding board member and former co-chair of the board of the Audre Lorde Project in NY. she was also on the board of Kitchen Table: women of Color Press as well as the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY.[2]

Speaking with Ayers and Obama

Bill Ayers and Barack Obama spoke together at a public gathering sponsored by The Center for Public Intellectuals & the University of Illinois-Chicago, April 19th-20th, 2002, at the Chicago Illini Union;

"Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?

IV. Intellectuals in Times of Crisis

Experiences and applications of intellectual work in urgent situations.

  • Bill Ayers, UIC, College of Education; author of Fugitive Days
  • Douglass Cassel, Northwestern University, Center for International Human Rights
  • Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago, Political Science

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

Cathy Cohen of the University of Chicago signed the statement[4].

Ella's Daughters

In 2009 Cathy Cohen, was a member of Chicago based organization Ella's Daughters-A network of artists, scholars and writers working in the tradition of militant Civil rights activist Ella Baker[5].

We are a loose network of women who respect and admire Baker’s legacy, and are either interested in or already engaged in work that represents a continuation of her democratic, egalitarian humanistic tradition. We do not want to reinvent the wheel or duplicate or compete in any way with existing efforts. An argument can be made that the potential for a renewed progressive movement already exists and is embedded in the local trench work of organizers like Ella Baker.

Prominent members include Bernardine Dohrn, Tracye Matthews, Camille Odeh and Barbara Ransby.