Scott Cook has been at RISD since 1987. He received his PhD in Modern European History with a specialization in Modern Imperialism from Rutgers University, including a year studying at King’s College, University of London where he was both a Fulbright Fellow and a fellow of the Social Science Research Council (1984–85).
As one of two full-time permanent historians, Cook focuses on modern history. Over the years he has taught an array of courses, including, in the past several years: Modern Britain, The Third Reich, The History of Homosexuality, The Wonder that Was India, The Civil War, Great Lives Lived, Revolution, Capital, and War and The Great War. He is dedicated to the proposition that artists and designers profit from a free-standing course of study in the humanities. Teaching is his chief joy and he has been fortunate to have countless outstanding scholars over the years. In 1991 he received the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Cook has been active in the institutional life of the college. As department head of HPSS (1996, 2000–04) he presided over the introduction of the HPSS Concentration, also serving as Concentration Coordinator. His scholarly interests include British and imperial history, the history of gender and sexuality, the history of modern warfare, capitalism, communism, and fascism and Indian history. He has published two books: Imperial Affinities (Sage, 1993) about parallels and intersections between late Victorian Ireland and India and Colonial Encounters in the Age of High Imperialism (HarperCollins, 1996), which dealt primarily with the Belgian Congo, British India, and American Hawaii, European diasporas, exploitation of the colonized, and women and empire. He has also written on the Indian Civil Service and about works on Post-Colonialism. Cook is also an avid observer of the US as an imperial power. He has written an academic novel, Crash Course, which he hopes will translate into print someday. He is slogging away at some sort of bookish treatment of Sir Roger Casement (1864–1916), imperial official, Irish nationalist and gay man.
Cook lives for his dog, the gym, gin and tonics and the sun-drenched beach. He is terribly fond of England where he lived off and on for four years and has visited many times. He has also traveled to Canada, Ireland, continental Europe, Israel, Palestine and India.