Leda Cooks

N336 Integrative Learning Center
413 545-2895

My research interests revolve around power, identity, body, food and culture, particularly as they are connected to discourse and performance. I generally situate my research in the context of social justice, critical pedagogy and community activism. My work has appeared in feminist, community service learning, communication, education, performance, mediation and development communication journals and in books dealing with topics such as whiteness studies, food studies, meda literacy, intercultural communication, communication education, communication activism, ethics and new media. Of particular concern in my work are the performances and spaces in which bodies are identified and legislated as raced, gendered, classed, etc.


PhD, Ohio University

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate: Food and/as Communication; Dialogue, Discourse, Identity, Community; Media Literacy and Community Media; Interracial Communication; Conflict and Mediation; Performance, culture and identity. Graduate: Theory and Practice of Dialogue; Critical Pedagogy; Communication Theory, Food Cultures, Qualitative Methods


Cooks, L. M. (In press). Sylvia’s story/The story of Sylvia: Narrating the personal in patienthood. In P. Kellett & J. Hawkins (Eds.), Women's narratives of health disruption and illness within and across their life stories. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Cooks, L. M. (2018). What is (not) food? The Construction and Consumption of Food Waste as a Social Problem. In K. LeBesco and P. Naccarato (Eds.), Food in Popular Culture. Bloomsbury.


Cooks, L. M. (2017). The End(s) of Freeganism and the Cultural Production of Food Waste. In M. Wallace and D. Carruthers, (Eds.), Perma/culture: Imagining Alternatives in an Age of Crisis. Routledge.


SomeBodies' in School. Special Issue of Text and Performance Quarterly. July 2011. Co-edited with John Warren.  

"Welcome to Holyoke!": Pride and Shame in Middle School, Text and Performance Quarterly, 2012. Co-authors Ellen Correa and Dawn Lovegrove. 

Dis/Placing Race: Whiteness, Pedagogy and Performance. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield. Reprinted in paperback 2008. Co-edited with Jennifer Simpson.

The (Critical) Pedagogy of Communication and the (Critical) Communication of Pedagogy. In D. L. Fassett and J. Warren (Eds). Sage Handbook of Communication and Instruction (pp. 293-314). Sage Publications. 2010

You are what you (don't) eat: Food, Identity and Resistance. Text and Performance Quarterly. Special Issue on Food Studies, 29(1). 2009

 Assessing Learning in Community Service Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 13(1). Cooks, L. M., & Scharrer, E. (2006).


2018 Whiting Foundation Grant $5, 774 “Dialogue and Social Justice in South Africa”

2017 Waterhouse Family Institute Grant $9204 “Communicating Food Waste”

International Programs Internationalization Grant: $5000 to build partnerships in Brazil. 2012

Faculty Leader for Access and Success. Rhode Island Campus Compact/Massachusetts Campus Compact. 2010. $2500

Current Projects: 

Works in Progress:  Current work includes a book project on food and family over the lifespan, food waste discourses and identities, research assessing the tensions and intersections between intergroup dialogue and advocacy toward social justice, and the intercultural communication of #MeToo. Current projects focus on the communication ecology of food recovery networks and on inter group dialogue.