Dr Joanna Cohen
Senior Lecturer in American History
Email: email@example.comTelephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8363Room Number: ArtsTwo 4.10
I gained my BA from Cambridge and my MA from Northwestern University before moving to Philadelphia in 2003 to do my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.
Living in the city where the United States was born fostered my fascination with the history of American citizenship; research in New York furthered my love of Manhattan’s historic department stores.
- HST4310 - Building the American Nation: 1756-1900
- HST6365 - Gotham: The Making of New York City 1825 - 2001
- HST6739 – The Pursuit of Happiness? The Creation of American Capitalism, 1763-1914
My first book, Luxurious Citizens: Consumption and Civic Belonging in Nineteenth Century America, (Penn Press, 2017) charts the creation of the citizen-consumer in the US before the Civil War. It reveals how merchants, manufacturers, retailers, advertiser and shoppers themselves attempted to define civic virtue through both personal and national shopping habits, resulting in a vision of citizenship that to this day positions consumption as an American virtue and entitlement.
My new work focuses on the ways in which Americans experienced loss in the nineteenth century. I explore how new capitalist, bureaucratic and commercial technologies shaped people’s emotional understanding of losing their homes, possessions and environments.
I am also working on a project that explores how people “came to terms” with the ends of conflicts in the Atlantic World. Privileging visual and material culture as a source, this project asks how people made their peace with violence and war through the things and images they had in their lives.
- US Citizenship
- Consumption and Consumerism in the Atlantic World
- American Capitalism and Political Economy
- Visual and Material Culture in the US
- Luxurious Citizens: Consumption and Civic Belonging in Nineteenth Century America (link is external)(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).
- “To Catch the Public Taste”: Interpreting American Consumers in the Era of Atlantic Free Trade, 1783-1854,” in The Atlantic World (link is external) ed. D’Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonard and William O’ Reilly (London and New York: Routledge, 2015): 573-596.
- “Promoting Pleasure as Political Economy: The Transformation of American Advertising, 1800 to 1850.” The Winterthur Portfolio (link is external), 48:2/3, Representations of Economy: Lithography in America from 1820 to 1860 (Summer/Autumn 2014): 163-190.
- “Ephemeral Loyalties? Consumption, Commerce and Jeffersonian Politics, 1806-1815.” The Readex Report (link is external), (November 2011, 6/4).
- “ ‘The Right to Purchase is as Free as the Right to Sell.’ Defining consumers as citizens in the auction-house conflicts of the early republic.” The Journal of the Early Republic (link is external), 30: 1 (Spring 2010), 25 – 62.
- “Images and Imagination: Consumers in Commercial Lithography,” The Book, (March, 2008, Number 74).
- “Stranger’s fever in Charleston, South Carolina: a mistaken diagnosis? The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, (link is external) 37, 2007: 273-6. With J. Cohen, BSMS, UK.
- Capitalism by Gaslight: Illuminating the Economy of Nineteenth-Century America (link is external)ed. Brian P. Luskey and Wendy A. Woloson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) Journal of American Studies 50:2 (May 2016): E22
- The Many Panics of 1837: People, Politics and the Creation of a Transatlantic Financial Crisis (link is external) by Jessica M. Lepler (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013) Reviews in History no1914 DOI: 10.14296/RiH/2014/1914
- Being American in Europe, 1750-1850 (link is external) by Daniel Kilbride (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) American Nineteenth Century History 16:2 (2015): 213-215.
- The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America (link is external) by Molly McCarthy (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2013) Journal of American Studies 48:3, July 2013, E77.
- The Politics of Fashion in Eighteenth-Century America (link is external)by Kate Haulman (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2013) The William and Mary Quarterly 70:1, January 2013: 197-200.
- Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front (link is external)by Judith Giesberg (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009) American Nineteenth Century History 12:3 (September 2011): 362-364.
- A New Nation of Goods: The Material Culture of Early America (link is external) David Jaffee (Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) H-SHEAR, H-Net Reviews. (July 2011)
- The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America (link is external). By Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009 and First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Independence. By Sheila L. Skemp. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) The Journal of the Early Republic(link is external), 30: 4, Winter 2010, 647-654
I welcome applications from candidates wishing to pursue doctoral research in the following areas:
- Nineteenth Century American History especially:
- Consumption and consumer culture
- Culture, visual culture