Cohen, Jessie

Field: Africa; Advisor: George; Year: 2019

Jessie is a Ph.D. candidate in African history. She is broadly interested in histories of gender and sexuality, health and healing, and humanitarianism. Her M.A. thesis examined the role of the Mother’s Union in family planning efforts in Uganda from 1962-1979. Jessie’s current dissertation research examines the history of family planning in Accra from 1957-2000 to trace change over time in ideals of gender roles, sexuality and family size and structure both within the home and in pursuit of nation-building.

Jessie has served as a Teaching Assistant in the Columbia University History Department and the Barnard College History Department for courses on the political history of Africa, gender and sexuality in Africa, and modern African history. She is currently the rapporteur for the Columbia University Seminars: Studies in Contemporary Africa, and previously served as the Graduate Coordinator for the History and Climate Change Workshop.

Jessie has held the West African Research Association’s Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and Kathleen M. Gash Fellowship at Columbia. She co-hosts the podcast Histories of Science in Africa which interviews Africanists on a variety of topics such as health and healing, the environment, and archaeology.

Jessie received her B.A. in History from Davidson College. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. Jessie worked in health system strengthening in Mwanza, Tanzania.