Matthew Cook, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: Cultural Geography and Historic Preservation

Matt Cook 406 King Hall

(734) 487-8485


Ph.D. 2016, Geography, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
M.S. 2012, Geography, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
B.S. 2009, Geosciences, University of Tennessee at Martin
B.S. 2009, Communications, University of Tennessee at Martin

Interests and Expertise

Dr. Matthew Cook (aka Dr. Matt) studied cultural and historical geography at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville culminating in his dissertation, "A Critical Historical Geography of Slavery in the US South." His M.S., also from UT Knoxville, focused on public memory of the Holocaust in Germany. His bachelor's degrees in both Geosciences and Communications are from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Dr. Cook's continuing research interests build on his dissertation focusing on geographies of memory, historical interpretation and race relations in the southern U.S. His ongoing research project addresses how museums around the country have responded to expanding geographies of racism and racial violence. Focusing specifically on African American historical and cultural narratives, the proposed project is the first stage of research in a larger planned study that asks, “What is the role of the museum in the 21st century?” and “How do American museums change and adapt their narrative emphases in response to contemporary events?”.

Dr. Cook's most recent article, "Counter-narratives of Slavery in the Deep South: the politics of empathy along and beyond River Road," is available in the Journal of Heritage Tourism. He has also published a recent chapter (with Dr. Derek Alderman, University of Tennessee at Knoxville) and a review of Rebecca Kinney's Beautiful Wasteland in the journal Historical Geography. Full citations are below:

  • Cook, M. R. 2016. Counter-narratives of slavery in the Deep South: the politics of empathy along and beyond River Road. Journal of Heritage Tourism 11 (3): 290–308. DOI: 10.1080/1743873X.2015.1100624.
  • Cook, M.R. and D.H. Alderman. 2017. Classroom as Memory Workspace: The Educational and Empathetic Potentials of Twelve Years a Slave and Ask a Slave. In Teaching Difficult History Through Film, J. Stoddard, A. Marcus, and D Hicks, eds., 160-177. New York: Routledge.
  • Cook, M.R. 2017. Review of R. Kinney, Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. In Historical Geography 45 (1): 263–264. profile


GHPR 335  Historic Preservation
GHPR 530  Introduction to Historic Preservation
GHPR 538  Historic Preservation and Tourism
GHPR 591  Place, Race and Ethnicity (Special Topics, taught Fall 2017)
GHPR 695  Seminar in Geographies of Memory (Variable Title Seminar, taught Winter 2018)
GEOG 107  Introduction to Geography
GEOG 311  History and Geography of the Modern World
GEOG 333W  Unsettled Geographies
GEOG/GHPR 577 Geographic Thought