Malachi H. Hacohen

Malachi H. Hacohen

Professor of History

External address: 
210 Classroom Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Dept of History, Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
(919) 684-3014

MALACHI HAIM HACOHEN (Ph.D., Columbia), Bass Fellow and Professor of History, Political Science and Religion, is Director of the Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and member of the faculties of Slavic and Eurasian, German and Jewish Studies. He teaches intellectual history and Jewish European history. He previously taught at Columbia University, New York University, and Reed College. His research interests focus on Central Europe and include social theory, political philosophy, and rabbinic culture – Midrash to Kabbalah to halakhic responsa. Hacohen writes on the Central European Jewish intelligentsia, on nation state vs. empire in Jewish European history, and on Jewish–Christian relations. He has paid special attention to science and culture in Vienna, to the international networks of European Jewish émigrés, and to trans-Atlantic Cold War liberalism. His Jewish European history is both traditionally Jewish and cosmopolitan European.

Hacohen's Karl Popper - The Formative Years, 1902-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000) has won the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the AHA and the Victor Adler- Staatspreis (Austrian state-prize). He has published essays in the leading journals of European and Jewish history and in several important collections. His Jacob & Esau: Jewish European History Between Nation and Empire is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in June 2018. Jacob & Esau is a profound new account of two millennia of Jewish European history which, for the first time, integrates the cosmopolitan narrative of the Jewish intelligentsia with that of traditional Jews and Jewish culture. The book uses the biblical story of the rival twins, Jacob and Esau, and its subsequent retelling by Christians and Jews through the ages as lens through which to illuminate changing Jewish–Christian relations and the opening and closing of opportunities for Jewish life in Europe. Jacob & Esau tells a new history of a people accustomed for over two-and-a-half millennia to forming relationships, real and imagined, with successive empires but eagerly adapting, in modernity, to the nation-state, and experimenting with both assimilation and Jewish nationalism. In rewriting this history via Jacob and Esau, the book charts two divergent but intersecting Jewish histories that together represent the plurality of Jewish European cultures.

Hacohen has been a recipient of the Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the ACLS, as well as of Fulbright, Mellon, and Whiting fellowships and a number of teaching awards. He was a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in 2016-17, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto in 2006-07, the National Humanities Center in 2002-03, and the IFK (Internationales Forschungszentrum  Kulturwissenschaften) in Vienna in 2001. He is a coordinator of the Triangle Intellectual History Seminar (Duke, NCSU, UNC, and Wake Forest University) and the North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar. He has served on the editorial board of several professional journals, as well as on the international board of the House of History – Austria, the Vienna International Summer University, the IFK, and the Adler and Vogelsang Austrian State Prize jury. Most recently, he has led an international research initiative on Empire, Socialism and Jews, with a series of conferences in Vienna and Duke University.

Malachi Haim Hacohen
Bass Fellow and Professor 
History, Political Science, and Religion
Director, Religions & Public Life
The Kenan Institute
Duke University


  • Ph.D., Columbia University 1993
  • M.Phil., Columbia University 1983
  • M.A., Columbia University 1982
  • B.A., Bar Ilan University (Israel) 1979

Hacohen, M. H. “Liberal Dilemmas and Moral Judgment.” In Naming Evil, Judging Evil, edited by Ruth Grant, 175–90. University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Hacohen, M. H. “Liberal Dilemmas and Moral Judgment.” In Naming Evil, Judging Evil, edited by Ruth Grant, 175–90. University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Hacohen, Malachi Haim. “The Young Popper as a Scholarly Field.” In Proceedings of the Karl Popper Centenary, edited by Ian Jarvie, David Miller, and David vols, 1:99–110. Ashgate Publishers, 2006.

Hacohen, M. H. “Red Vienna, the ’Jewish Question,’ and Emigration, 1936-1937.” In Karl Popper: Critical Assessments., edited by Anthony O. Hear and Anthony O. ed, 1:87-133. Routledge, 2004.

Hacohen, M. “Historicizing Deduction.” In Induction and Deduction in the Sciences, edited by Maria Carla Galavotti and Friedrich Stadler. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003.

Hacohen, M. H. “La città celeste di Popper: Platone, Atene e la società aperta.” In Karl R. Popper, 1902-2002: Ripensando Il Razionalismo Critico. (Nuova Civilta Delle Macchine, XX:2), edited by Stefano Gattei, II:12-160. Analisi-Trend, 2002.

Hacohen, M. H. “Critical Rationalism, Logical Positivism, and the Poststructuralist Conundrum: Reconsidering the Neurath-Popper Debate.” In History of Philosophy and Science, edited by Michael Heidelberger and Friedrich Stadler, 307–24. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002.

Hacohen, M. H. “The Limits of the National Paradigm in the Study of Political Thought.” In Political Thought and Its History in National Context, edited by Dario Castiglione and Iain Hampsher-Monk, 247–79. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Hacohen, M. H. “Karl Popper’s Cosmopolitanism: Culture Clash and Jewish Identity.” In Rethinking Vienna 1900, edited by Steven Beller, 171–94. New York: Berghahn Books, 2001.

Hacohen, M. H. “The Rebirth of Liberalism in Science and Politics: Karl Popper, the Vienna Circle, and Red Vienna.” In Metropole Wien. Texturen Der Moderne, edited by Roman Horak and et al, II:146–79. Vienna: WUV, 2000.


Hacohen, M. H. “Jacob Talmon between Zionism and Cold War Liberalism.” History of European Ideas 34, no. 2 (June 1, 2008): 146–57. Full Text

Hacohen, M. “Rediscovering intellectual biography - And its limits.” History of Political Economy 39, no. SUPPL. (December 1, 2007): 9–29. Full Text

Hacohen, M. H. “The Congress for Cultural Freedom in Austria: Forum, the Rémigrés and Postwar Culture.” Storiografia 11 (2007): 135–45.

Hacohen, M. H. “From Empire to Cosmopolitanism: The Central-European Jewish Intelligentsia, 1867-1968.” Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook V (2006): 117–34.

Hear, Anthony O., and Anthony O. ed, eds. “Red Vienna, the ’Jewish Question,’ and Emigration, 1936-1937,” 2004, 1:87-133.

Hacohen, Malachi Haim. “Karl Popper and the Liberal Imagination in Science and Politics (in Hungarian).” Buksz – Budapest Review of Books. (Budapesti Könyvszemle – Buksz), December 2003.

Hacohen, M. H., and K. Popper. “The formative years, 1902-1945.” Annals of Science 59, no. 1 (January 1, 2002): 89. Full Text

Gattei, Stefano, ed. “La città celeste di Popper: Platone, Atene e la società aperta,” 2002, II:12-160.

Hacohen, Malachi Haim. “The Poverty of Historicism, 1935-1940.” Storiografia 5 (2001): 67.-72.

Hacohen, M. H. “Dilemmas of cosmopolitanism: Karl Popper, Jewish identity, and "Central European Culture".” Journal of Modern History 71, no. 1 (January 1, 1999): 105–49. Full Text


Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Polonsky Fellow awarded by Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2016 to 2017)

Fellow awarded by Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (2006 to 2008)