Skip to main content

Ben Cowan

Professor, History

Ben Cowan received his AB from Harvard University and his MA and PhD from UCLA. His interest in right-wing radicalism, morality, sexuality, and 20th-century imperialism led him to focus on Cold War Brazil, with a specialization in the cultural and gender history of the post-1964 era. Dr. Cowan’s first book, Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) won three book awards, including the prestigious Brazil Section Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association.  In 2021, Dr. Cowan published a second monograph, Moral Majorities across the Americas: Brazil, the United States, and the Creation of the Religious Right (also from UNC Press), which subsequently won the Roberto Reis Prize (Brazilian Studies Association) and was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. He has published work in The Hispanic American Historical ReviewLuso-Brazilian Review, American QuarterlyThe Journal of the History of Sexuality, Radical History ReviewLatin American Research Review, and other venues. Dr. Cowan is currently conducting research for a book on Latin American histories of mountaineering. His work has benefited from much-appreciated support, including grants from the John W. Kluge Center, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the American Philosophical Society, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Before coming to UCSD, Dr. Cowan taught at Occidental College, Dalhousie University, and George Mason University.

(Photo credit: Bill Wechter)