Malachi H. Hacohen

Associate Professor of History

External Address: 
210 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
(919) 684-6819
Behavior Identities, Political Theory

MALACHI HAIM HACOHEN (Ph.D., Columbia), Bass Fellow and Associate Professor of History, Political Science and Religion, is Director of the Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and member of the faculties of Slavic and Eurasian, German and Jewish Studies. He teaches intellectual history and Jewish European history. He previously taught at Columbia University, New York University, and Reed College. His research interests focus on Central Europe and include social theory, political philosophy, and rabbinic culture – Midrash to Kabbalah to halakhic responsa. Hacohen writes on the Central European Jewish intelligentsia, on nation state vs. empire in Jewish European history, and on Jewish–Christian relations. He has paid special attention to science and culture in Vienna, to the international networks of European Jewish émigrés, and to trans-Atlantic Cold War liberalism. His Jewish European history is both traditionally Jewish and cosmopolitan European.
Hacohen's Karl Popper - The Formative Years, 1902-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000) has won the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the AHA and the Victor Adler- Staatspreis (Austrian state-prize). He has published essays in the leading journals of European and Jewish history and in several important collections. His Jacob & Esau: Jewish European History Between Nation and Empire is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in June 2018. Jacob & Esau is a profound new account of two millennia of Jewish European history which, for the first time, integrates the cosmopolitan narrative of the Jewish intelligentsia with that of traditional Jews and Jewish culture. The book uses the biblical story of the rival twins, Jacob and Esau, and its subsequent retelling by Christians and Jews through the ages as lens through which to illuminate changing Jewish–Christian relations and the opening and closing of opportunities for Jewish life in Europe. Jacob & Esau tells a new history of a people accustomed for over two-and-a-half millennia to forming relationships, real and imagined, with successive empires but eagerly adapting, in modernity, to the nation-state, and experimenting with both assimilation and Jewish nationalism. In rewriting this history via Jacob and Esau, the book charts two divergent but intersecting Jewish histories that together represent the plurality of Jewish European cultures.
Hacohen has been a recipient of the Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the ACLS, as well as of Fulbright, Mellon, and Whiting fellowships and a number of teaching awards. He was a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in 2016-17, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto in 2006-07, the National Humanities Center in 2002-03, and the IFK (Internationales Forschungszentrum  Kulturwissenschaften) in Vienna in 2001. He is a coordinator of the Triangle Intellectual History Seminar (Duke, NCSU, UNC, and Wake Forest University) and the North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar. He has served on the editorial board of several professional journals, as well as on the international board of the House of History – Austria, the Vienna International Summer University, the IFK, and the Adler and Vogelsang Austrian State Prize jury. Most recently, he has led an international research initiative on Empire, Socialism and Jews, with a series of conferences in Vienna and Duke University.
Malachi Haim Hacohen Bass Fellow and Associate Professor  History, Political Science, and Religion Director, Religions & Public Life The Kenan InstituteDuke University


  • Ph.D., Columbia University 1993
  • M.Phil., Columbia University 1983
  • M.A., Columbia University 1982
  • B.A., Bar Ilan University (Israel) 1979

Hacohen, MH. Jacob and Esau: Jewish European History Between Nation and Empire (In preparation). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (CUP), June 2018. (Monograph)

Hacohen, MH. Karl Popper in Esilio. Ed. R Editore. Biblioteca Austriaca, 1999.

Hacohen, MH. "Jacob & Esau Today: The End of a Two Millennia Paradigm?." Encouraging Openness: Essays for Joseph Agassi on the Occasion of His 90th Birthday. Ed. Nimrod Bar-Am and Stefano Gattei. Springer, 2017. 167-190. (Essay)

Hacohen, MH. "The Young Popper, 1902–1937: History, Politics and Philosophy in Interwar Vienna." The Cambridge Companion to Popper. Ed. Jeremy Shearmur and Geoffrey Stokes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 30-68.

Hacohen, MH. "The Liberal Critique of Political Theology: Political Messianism and the Cold War." Die helle und die dunkle Seite der Moderne. Ed. Werner Michael Schwarz and Ingo Zechner. Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2014. 38-50. (Essay)

Hacohen, MH. "Karl Popper and the Liberal Imagination: Rationality in Science and Politics." I Limiti della Razionalità. Ed. M. Del Castello and Michael Segre. Carabba, 2013. 111-132. (Essay)

Hacohen, MH. "Congress for Cultural Freedom." Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture. Ed. D Diner. J. B. Metzler’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2012. 22-28.

Hacohen, MH. "Cosmopolitanism, the European Nation State, and Jewish Life: Berlin and Popper." Karl Popper oggi: una riflessione multidisciplinare. Ed. Andrea Borghini and Stefano Gattei. Livorno: Salomone Belforte, 2011. 135-160. (Essay)

Hacohen, MH. "From Forvm to Neues Forvm: The ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom,’ the 68ers and the Émigrés." Das Jahr 1968 – Ereignis, Symbol, Chiffre. Ed. O Rathkolb and F Stadler. Vienna University Press, 2010. 239-274.

Hacohen, MH. "Kosmopoliten in einer ethnonationalen Zeit? Juden und Österreicher in der 1. Republik." Das Werden der Republik: Österreich 1918-1920. Ed. H Konrad and W Maderthaner. Gerold, 2008.

Hacohen, MH. "Liberal Dilemmas and Moral Judgment." Naming Evil, Judging Evil. Ed. R Grant. University of Chicago Press, 2006. 175-190.

Hacohen, MH. "Liberal Dilemmas and Moral Judgment." Naming Evil, Judging Evil. Ed. R Grant. University of Chicago Press, 2006. 175-190.


Hacohen, MH. "Nation and Empire in Modern Jewish European History." Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 62 (2017): 53-65. (Essay, Poetry)


Hacohen, MH. "Typology and the Holocaust: Erich Auerbach and Judeo-Christian Europe." Religions 3 (July 2012): 600-645. (Academic Article)

Hacohen, MH. "Berlin and Popper Between Nation and Empire: Diaspora, Cosmopolitanism, and Jewish Life." Jewish Historical Studies 44 (2012): 51-74. (Academic Article)


Hacohen, MH. "Jacob Talmon between Zionism and Cold War liberalism." HISTORY OF EUROPEAN IDEAS 34.2 (June 2008): 146-157. Full Text


Selected Grants

Human Rights: The Historical Formation of a Research Field awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Polonsky Fellow awarded by Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2016 to 2017)

Fellow awarded by Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (2006 to 2008)