Political Science Now

Dara Kay Cohen–2017 APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award Recipient

The APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award has been established to honor Lowi’s distinctive contributions to the study of politics. Throughout a prolific and influential career, Lowi developed new understandings of the relationship of public policy to politics, the influence of institutional arrangements to the exercise of power, the role of ideology in the development of political parties, the relationship of democracy to law, the relevance of concept analysis for theory building, and more.

The Lowi Award recognizes the author of a first book in any field of political science that exemplifies qualities of broad ambition, high originality, and intellectual daring, showing promise of having a substantive impact on the overall discipline, regardless of method, specific focus of inquiry or approach to subject. The award carries a cash prize of $750.00. 

Dara Kay Cohen is an associate professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests span the field of international relations, including international security, civil war and the dynamics of violence, and gender and conflict.

Her first book, Rape During Civil War (Cornell University Press, 2016), examines the variation in the use of rape during recent civil conflicts; the research for the book draws on extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and El Salvador. The book received the 2017 Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award from the American Political Science Association. Her current project is focused on the intersection of political violence, public opinion and gender in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, World Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, International Security, and Stanford Law Review, and has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, Folke Bernadotte Academy and the Peace Research Institute Oslo, among others.

In 2011, Cohen was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Award for Best Dissertation in Women and Politics, and in 2014, Cohen received the Heinz I. Eulau Award for the best article published in the American Political Science Review in the previous year.

Cohen received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and an A.B. in political science and philosophy from Brown University.

Cohen served as a paralegal in the Outstanding Scholars Program in the Counterterrorism Section of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001-2003. Prior to joining the Kennedy School, she was an assistant professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

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