Dr. William Cohen, professor emeritus of history at Hope College, will spend a year teaching in Japan through an award from the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the program sends some 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. The awards for 2004-05 include placements in approximately 140 countries.
Cohen, who retired in 2001 after teaching at Hope for 30 years, will be in Japan from September of 2004 to July of 2005, teaching at Yokohama National University and Kyoritsu Women's University.
Although he spent two weeks in Japan in the mid-1990s, full immersion in the culture will be a new experience for him. That's one reason he applied.
"I have little background in Japan," he said. "It is my hope that this experience will open doors to new and interesting worlds of knowledge and experience."
Cohen, whose longtime specialization is in American history, will be teaching U.S. history courses which will explore the intersections between U.S. and Japanese history and culture where appropriate.
One of his courses will focus on the struggle for racial equality in the U.S. in the 20th century, reflecting his particular scholarly specialization in slavery and post-Civil War black mobility.
He will lecture in English, but is studying Japanese in preparation for his 10-month stay.
Cohen joined the Hope faculty in 1971, and occasionally served as chair of the department of history. He also advised Hope students interested in applying for prestigious, highly competitive Marshall and Rhodes scholarships for graduate study.
In 1993, he received the Southern Historical Association's Francis Butler Simkins Award for his book "At Freedom's Edge: Black Mobility and the Southern White Quest for Racial Control, 1861-1915." He has also written numerous articles and book reviews for scholarly publications, and has made a number of presentations at professional meetings.
In 2001, he received the college's "Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching." After retiring, he taught at Hope part-time through the fall, 2003, semester.
Prior to coming to Hope, he was a research associate with the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Chicago for three years. He had also been a lecturer in history at Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Cohen holds his bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College, his master's from Columbia University and his doctorate from New York University.