• Professor, History
  • Professor, History


  • BA, English, Earlham College
  • MA, South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • PhD, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Benjamin B. Cohen is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Utah. He is a scholar of South Asia with a particular interest in the early-modern and modern periods of the subcontinent’s history. Trained in the languages of the Deccan, Cohen works in Telugu, Urdu, and Hindi. His first monograph explored a discrete set of Hindu countryside kings in India’s largest princely state, Hyderabad, led by Muslim rulers (Kingship and Colonialism in India’s Deccan, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). His second book broke new ground with a pan-South Asia exploration of civil society explored through the lens of social clubs (In the Club: Associational Life in Colonial India, Manchester University Press, 2015, Studies in Imperialism). He returns to the Deccan in his third monograph that explores a late nineteenth century sex scandal (An Appeal to the Ladies of Hyderabad: Scandal in the Raj, Harvard University Press, 2019). He has also published (2019, with Orient BlackSwan, Hyderabad) an edited collection of family papers from the Wanaparthy samasthan.


His current research includes a long-term history of the Deccan examined through the lens of water. He has taught courses on the environmental history of India, and published “Modernizing the Urban Environment: The Musi River Flood of 1908 in Hyderabad, India.” Environment and History Vol. 17, no. 3 in 2011. Before joining the academy, Cohen was a singer-songwriter, barista, and nightclub manager—but not all at the same time.