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One of the most crucial elements of sustained success in academia is having access to a thriving community of scholars to engage in open inquiry and establish ideas. This network of support and collaboration helps further a scholar’s best work in their field, and for Professor Andrew Cohen, his first experience with the Institute for Humane Studies’ robust community came early on in his academic career.

“My very first IHS Summer Seminar really sort of hooked me,” recalls Professor Cohen.

As an undergraduate, events like IHS Summer Seminars, now the Junior Fellows program, provided students like Professor Cohen with the opportunity to convene with other scholars and faculty members across disciplines and regionalities for vigorous discussion and collaboration.

“I think [IHS events are] fantastic opportunities for [young scholars] to get a real taste of what open, honest discussion about various topics related to classical liberalism can really be,” Professor Cohen said.

Professor Andrew J. Cohen
Professor Andrew J. Cohen

“Discussions where conversations and the participants were completely open to working through the arguments in full, looking at the evidence, and drawing genuine, impartial conclusions from whatever evidence is presented without worry.”

-Professor Andrew Jason Cohen

These seminars allowed Professor Cohen to establish connections with scholars and faculty from across the country, and from that network, he formed lifelong mentorships and relationships essential to furthering his career.

As a result, Cohen established a relationship with David Schmidtz, then a professor at the University of Arizona, now a Professor of Philosophy at West Virginia University, who played a pivotal role in furthering Cohen’s career path in academia. In 1997, Schmidtz alerted Cohen to a potential job opportunity at Arizona.

“I was thinking I didn’t have a chance at all of getting a job at a place like Arizona because it was, and probably still is, the number one place in the country to do political philosophy,” Cohen said. “But I think largely because of him, I was able to get that position. I ended up staying there for three years and I think that largely made my career.”

Now as a professor of Philosophy, and Founding Director of the Bachelor’s and Master’s of Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Georgia State University, Professor Cohen has established himself as a preeminent scholar in his field and a valuable member of the IHS network.

Cohen has attended IHS seminars since being a graduate student and has been awarded various IHS academic fellowships throughout his academic career. Most recently, he partnered with the IHS as part of an event support grant to host a workshop refining his manuscript for his forthcoming book, tentatively titled A Thinker’s Guide to Real Talk which aims to promote a framework for successful civil discourse and productive conversations in an ever divisive world. His online workshop in partnership with IHS, allowed Cohen to present his manuscript to a diverse group of academics and professionals from the “bridging” community to get valuable feedback.

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