Max A. Cohen

Anthropology Graduate Student

Max A. Cohen is a PhD candidate in Anthropology who studies cultures and politics of the technology economy in the U.S. today. His dissertation, Subgoliath: Venture Capital & the Hunt for Baby Unicorns at the Technological Frontier, newly situates the U.S. startup economy within its ultra-high-risk-high-reward financial context. Sited mainly in the San Francisco Bay Area, Max’s immersive ethnographic fieldwork among venture capital investors, startup entrepreneurs, software engineers, and other tech workers addresses questions of value and validation, autonomy and automation, power and prediction, computation and optimization. His research has been awarded funding by the Effron Center for the Study of America and Princeton University.

As research assistant to Caitlin Zaloom for her book, Indebted (Princeton UP, 2019), Max previously conducted extensive in-depth interview research on student debt and personal finance among families across the U.S. He received a bachelor’s in Business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with an Urban Studies minor. He holds an MA from the American Studies Program at NYU, where he co-organized the conferences Security & Freedom and Ecologies of the Future Present. He has an MA in Anthropology from Princeton.