Jonathan Cohen

Field & Specialties

20th Century United States History
History of Gambling
Economic Inequality


M.A. University of Virginia (2015)

B.A. McGill University (2013)


All In: Gambling in the Twentieth Century United States, coedited with David G. Schwartz (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2018).

Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen, coedited with June Skinner Sawyers (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2019)

"'Put the Gangsters Out of Business': Gambling Legalization and the War on Organized Crime," Journal of Policy History (forthcoming 2019)

“Lost in the Flood: Bruce Springsteen’s Political Consciousness and the Vietnam War, 1968-2014” in Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music: Rhetoric, Social Consciousness, and Contemporary Culture ed. William I. Wolff (New York: Routledge, 2017), 17-30.

Review, Krister Swanson, Baseball’s Power Shift: How the Players Union, The Fans, and the Media Changed American Sports Culture (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016) and Matthew Futterman, Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016) in Journal of Sports History Vol 44 No. 1 (2017): 129-131.

“‘Can Music Save Your Mortal Soul?’: A Bibliographic Survey of Rock as Religion,” Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 7 No. 1 (2016): 46-86.

“This is Your Hometown: Collective Memory, Industrial Flight, and the Fate of Freehold, New Jersey,” New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1 (2016): 185-212.

“Spaceflight and the Separation of Church and State,” Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy, Vol. 11 No. 1-2 (2013): 100-107.

Current Research

My dissertation, For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries and American Inequality, examines state lotteries in the twentieth century United States.

I have written on the history of gambling for The Washington Post, The HillWe're History, Backstory, Vox, and Public Seminar, and my work was recently cited in an amicus brief on the Supreme Court case Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Awards & Honors

2018: Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, American Council of Learned Socities

2017: Visiting Fellowship, History Department, Harvard University

2016: Corcoran Department of History Prize for Undergraduate Teaching, University of Virginia Alumni Association

2016: Tobin Project Graduate Fellowship, The Tobin Project

2016: Bankard Pre-Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Virginia

2016: Larry J. Hackman Research Residency Fellowship, New York State Archives

2016: Grant-in-Aid, Rockefeller Archive Center

2016: Raven Society Fellowship, Raven Society, University of Virginia

2015: William R. Eadington Residency Fellowship, Center for Gaming Research, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

2015: Bernard Bellush Prize, New York Labor History Association

2015: Graduate Student Paper Award, New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance

2014, 2015: Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship, University of Virginia

2014: Sam Fishman Travel Grant, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

2014: Summer Research Grant, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

2013: Research Fellowship, Kentucky Historical Society 

2013: Newman Family Jefferson Fellowship, Jefferson Scholars Foundation

Courses Taught

Primary Instructor:

United State History Since 1945 (summer 2017)

Teaching Assistant: 

America and War, 1900-2015 (spring 2016 and fall 2016)

The South in the Twentieth Century (spring 2015)

The Coming of the Civil War (fall 2014)

Media Appearances

Gambling Compliance, “Massachusetts To Take Its Time on Sports Betting,” April 22, 2019.

Wicked Local (Cambridge, MA), “How Sports Betting Could Change Gambling in Massachusetts,” February 19, 2019.

Bloomberg, “Lotteries are Doing More Damage to Those Who Can Least Afford It,” September 12, 2018.

Gimlet Media (Every Little Thing podcast), “Who Invented the Scratch Ticket?” May 14, 2018. 

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Michael Paul Williams Show podcast), “American Gambling and its Virginia Roots,” April 26, 2018.

Mercury News (San Jose, CA), “Powerball Jackpot Grows to $478 million, but Mania is Nowhere to be Found,” July 29, 2016.