About

Welcome to my website. I’m Paul Cook, Professor of English in the Department of English and Language Studies at Indiana University Kokomo, where I teach writing, rhetoric, technical editing, and digital media.

From 2019 to 2022, I served as President of Faculty Senate at IU Kokomo, and I have been the reviews editor at Across the Disciplines since 2018. I also co-host Digital Gardening, a podcast on digital literacy and teaching with technology I started with Adam Maksl of IU Southeast. I also served as Director of Writing at IU Kokomo from 2014 to 2020. In this role, I was in charge of both first-year writing courses and our second-year writing in the disciplines (WID) courses in the majors, which I developed in 2018.

I earned a BA in English from Winthrop University, an MA in English from Auburn University, and a PhD from the Rhetoric/Composition program at the University of South Carolina.

My research on the teaching of writing has appeared in journals like Pedagogy, JAC (Journal of Advanced Composition), and Across the Disciplines, as well as several edited collections, including the popular Bad Ideas about Writing textbook (and companion podcast).

A related area of research includes my work in communication theory, the history of the university, and academic labor. This scholarship has appeared in such journals as Communication Law Review, the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, The Forum, Liberal Education, and others.

My current book project, Beyond “Fake News”: Media Literacy and Misinformation Studies in the Postdigital Era, seeks to move the conversations surrounding information disorder and disinformation beyond our current fascination with so-called “fake news” by concentrating on the socio-cultural and technical drivers of our unique moment in history: the post-truth phenomenon, the superabundance of information, the speed and ubiquity of our networks, educational shortcomings in media literacy and civics learning, and a widespread loss of faith in institutions and experts. In doing so, I examine the history of the university as social institution charged since the Enlightenment with being the arbiter of truth, and suggest how the university might reclaim and re-invigorate this historical mission by making a case for the meta-disciplinary study of problematic information through what I propose to formalize as misinformation studies.

This summer I’ve been working on three smaller projects. The first is the introductory chapter for the edited collection If at First You Don’t Succeed: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Question of Failure, forthcoming from the WAC Clearinghouse’s Perspectives on Writing series. The second is a chapter fleshing out my research proposing the meta-discipline of misinformation studies for another forthcoming edited collection called Education in the Age of Misinformation.

The third is an article for an upcoming special issue of the WAC Journal on “Transforming WAC at 50: What, How, and for Whom?” I am writing about how the historical development of WAC/WID has a lot in common with our current epistemological moment, and that there is much to learn about how to teach students to deal with information disorder and become better consumers of information by examining how WAC/WID developed in the university as a meta-discipline rooted in rhetoric and writing pedagogy.

This summer, I attended the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy in July 2022, which you can read all about on my Substack newsletter, The Highlight Zone, and I was named a American Democracy Project Civic Fellow in September 2022.

Check out my current CV (updated July 2022).