Department of
ASL - English Interpretation

Peter S. Cook

Title: Associate Professor

Phone: 312.369.7837


Office: 33 E. Congress, Room 401



Peter S. Cook is Associate Professor in the Department of ASL-English Interpretation and an internationally known Deaf performing artist whose work incorporates American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting, and movement.

Cook worked at Columbia from 1993-1998 and began working again in the Department of ASL-English Interpretation full time in 2006. Cook has an MA in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University (2011), and a BFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology (1986).

Since 1986, Cook has traveled extensively both nationally and internationally with Kenny Lerner to promote the Flying Words Project and ASL literature. He has appeared in Live from Off Center’s “Words on Mouth” and “United States of Poetry” (PBS), both of which were produced by Emmy-award winner Bob Holman. Cook launched a video production in 1998 called PC Production, which is now based in Chicago.

Cook has been featured nationally in numerous festivals, including the Jonesboro National Storytelling Festival; Oklahoma City Winter Tales; Illinois Storytelling Festival; Indiana Hoosier Storytelling Festival; Eugene, Oregon Multi-Cultural Festival; The Deaf Way II; and the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2003, he was invited to the White House to join the National Book Festival. Internationally, Cook has worked with Deaf storytellers/poets in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Japan.


  • BFA, Graphic Design, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • MA, Storytelling, Tennessee State University

Courses Taught

  • “Creativity and ASL”
  • “Introduction to ASL Storytelling”
  • “Historical and Cultural Perspectives on Deaf American Artists and Art”
  • “ASL Literature”
  • “Advanced ASL”
  • “ASL 1”
  • “ASL 2”
  • “ASL 3”
  • “ASL 4”
  • “Language and Translation”
  • “Practicum 1”
  • “Practicum 2”

Areas of Interest

  • Deaf art history
  • ASL literature
  • Narrative development in ASL storytelling
  • Nonverbal aspects of narrative diegetic shifting in narrative discourse
  • ASL poetry
  • Creativity and ASL
  • Deaf space in visual art

Professional Work

“Features in American Sign Language Storytelling,” Storytelling, Self, Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies, Vol. 7.1, Routledge Press. Contributor Poet, “Crossing State Lines: An America Renga:, B.Holman, C. Muske-Dukes, Ed., Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publshing, NYC.

Contributor, “Toward a Better Understanding of Non-manual Signals through Acquisition and Synthesis.” Presented at Non-manuals in Sign Languages (NISL) Rosalee Wolfe, John McDonald and Jerry Schnepp, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 

Contributor, Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology, J. Lee Clark, Ed., Gallaudet University Press, DC.

“Flying Words: A Conversation between Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner” Signs & Voices: Deaf Culture, Identity, Language and Arts, Gallaudet University Press, D.C.

“United States of ASL Poetry” The United States of Poetry, Harry N. Abrams, INC. NYC. “Our Language is Our Identity: American Sign Language and Deaf Culture” The Center for Arts Criticism Winter 1995 (National)

Awards and Honors

  • Best Local Deaf Entertainer, Deaf Illinois Awards, Chicago, IL, 2006, 2011      
  • Silver Honor Video Category, Parent’s Choice, Parent’s Choice Foundation, 2001
  • Community Achievement Award, The Foundation for the Hearing and Speech Rehabilitation, 1996
  • Excellence in Teaching, Part-Time Faculty Columbia College Chicago, 1997