Cohen, Stephen P. (1936-2019) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Cohen, Stephen P. (1936-2019)


Historical Note:

Stephen P. Cohen (1936-2019) was a professor of Political Science and Asian Studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Cohen started out as an instructor in 1965, then became assistant professor (1967), associate professor (1970), full professor (1979), and emeritus professor (1998). At the University of Illinois, Cohen was instrumental in the development of South Asian studies, an emeritus professor of the Center of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (CSAMES), and helped found the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security (ACDIS, 1978), which he directed from 1994 to 1998. In his thirty plus years at the University of Illinois, Dr. Cohen became a prominent expert on US involvement in South Asia, nuclear disarmament, and the relations between India and Pakistan. He retired in 1998 and became Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Stephen Phillip Cohen was born in Chicago in 1936 and studied at the University of Chicago, where he received both a Bachelors of Art (1958) and Masters of Art (1959) in Political Science, before obtaining his PhD (1967) in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was married to Roberta S. Brosilow Cohen, with whom he had six children. An expert on South Asian studies, and in particular, the relationship between India and Pakistan, Cohen served on the policy planning staff of the U.S. Department of State from 1985-1986, and was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation from 1992-1993. While at the University of Illinois, he was also active in ROTC. In 1998 Cohen joined the Brooking Institute where his work focused on resolving nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan. Cohen published extensively on South Asia, including fifteen books. Cohen died at the age of 83 on October 27, 2019.

Because of his expertise on South Asia and nuclear weaponry, he spoke nationally and internationally, including at The Asia Society conference, foreign policy groups, and the State Department. He also gave testimony before the House and Senate (1981-2008), particularly on South Asian security and the United States.




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