Dr. Julia R. DeCook is a specialist on online extremist movements, specifically male supremacist groups like the Incels, men’s rights activists, and communities like r/TheRedPill. She has written on these subjects and been interviewed for both academic and general audiences. DeCook researches how online extremist communities navigate the constraints of digital infrastructure, specifically in how they respond to attempts to quell and stop their movements in the form of bans and censorship. Her dissertation was a 2-year digital ethnography where she studied how three male supremacist groups managed to persist despite bans, attempts of censorship, and other threats to their online communities. Through this study, she found that online extremist groups persist despite efforts to stop their spread due to factors like archiving, spreading out their online networks, and through the creation of a strong collective identity.
DeCook received her doctorate in Media and Information Studies from Michigan State University and is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. Additionally, she is currently an expert/fellow for the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism (IRMS). At Loyola, she teaches courses on media theory, technology and social change, social movements, discourse and culture, and propaganda. She has authored or co-authored in outlets like Learning, Media and Technology; Social Media + Society; The Good Men Project; and b2o: an online journal. She has presented her work at national and international conferences such as the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR); International Communication Association (ICA); and the American Association of Anthropology (AAA). DeCook is currently revising her dissertation (Titled “Curating the Future: The Sustainability Practices of Online Hate Groups”) to be published as a book with a university press.
Expert on male supremacist groups, online networks and platforms (specifically reddit), online extremism, and digital culture.
Specialist research areas:
male supremacism/masculinity studies; infrastructure and platform studies; gender and race; online extremism; digital discourse; science and technology studies; online content moderation; [online] political and social movements; collective identity; knowledge production; disinformation and propaganda
Available for consultation in the following areas:
Legal consultancy/expert testimony; policy suggestions; government consultancy; non-profit and charity engagement; pre-recorded media interviews (including print, online, radio and television); informational interviews; and editorials