Matthew Cook

Dr. Matt Cook visiting Salzburg, Austria

Associate Professor of Cultural Geography and Historic Preservation

Geography & Geology

140X Strong Hall

(734) 487-8485

[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 2016
  • MS, Geography, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 2012
  • BS, Geosciences, University of Tennessee at Martin, 2009
  • BS, Communications, University of Tennessee at Martin, 2009

Interests and Expertise

Dr. Matthew Cook (aka Dr. Matt to his students) 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 MS, also from UT Knoxville, focused on public memory of the Holocaust in Germany. He holds B.S. degrees in Geosciences and Communications from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Dr. Cook's research interests focus on geographies of memory, historical interpretation, and race relations in the United States. His current NSF-funded project (Award #2026316, The Role of Museums in the Landscape of Minority Representation) addresses how museums around the country respond to expanding geographies of racism and racial violence. Focusing specifically on African American historical and cultural narratives, the  three-year study 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 in an edited volume on Dark Tourism and Pilgrimage.

  • 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. 2020. Dark tourism and pilgrimage in the museum? Considering the case of Emmett Till’s Casket. In Dark Tourism and Pilgrimage, D. Olsen and M. Korstanje, eds., 176–184. Wallingford, UK: CABI.

Take a look at Dr. Cook's Academia Profile.


  • GHPR 335 Historic Preservation
  • GHPR 415/515 Place, Race and Ethnicity
  • GHPR 438/538 Historic Preservation and Tourism
  • GHPR 446/556 Heritage Interpretation
  • GHPR 561/GEOG 531 American Cultural Landscapes
  • GHPR 695 Seminar in Geographies of Memory (Variable Title Seminar)
  • GEOG 110 World Regions
  • GEOG 112 Introduction to Travel & Tourism
  • GEOG 311 History and Geography of the Modern World
  • GEOG 333W Unsettled Geographies
  • GEOG/GHPR 577 Geographic Thought


Dr. Matt Cook advises students in Historic Preservation (HP Minor and assigned HP MS students) and directs the Geotourism & Historic Preservation BS program.