Marcie Ferris

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Greenlaw Hall 320, CB #3520
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520
work (919) 843-9881
mobile (919) 360-9718
home (919) 968-8280


Ph. D., American Studies, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 2003
MA, History, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1985
BA, American Civilization, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1981


I am associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Since 2008, I have  served as the department’s coordinator of Southern Studies.  I received my Ph.D. in American Studies from George Washington University (2003). Prior to this time, my work in public history focused on developing educational programs, exhibits, and teaching resources.  While working at a living history farm museum in rural Maine, at Plimoth Plantation, at Elderhostel, and while serving as director of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, I organized lectures, academic symposiums, study abroad programs, teacher workshops, curated exhibits, produced films and oral histories, developed classroom curriculum materials, and organized archival collections.

My research and teaching interests include the history of the Jewish South, food in American culture, American Jewish women’s history, and the foodways and material culture of the American South.  In 2007, I received the University of North Carolina’s Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.  From 2006-2008, I served as President of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

My publications include Matzoh Ball Gumbo:  Culinary Tales of the Jewish South (UNC Press, 2005), a study of Jewish history, foodways, and culture in the American South.  Matzoh Ball Gumbo was nominated for the 2006 James Beard Foundation Award in the category of “Writings on Food,” and was also recognized by the International Association of Culinary Professionals with their 2006 Jane Grigson Award for distinguished scholarship in research and presentation.  I am co-editor of Jewish Roots in Southern Soil:  A New History (University Press of New England, 2006), an anthology of contemporary scholarship on the Jewish South.

My current work, “The Edible South:  Food and History in an American Region,” is a social history of southern foodways—the cultural, social and economic practices that relate to food in the American South.  “The Edible South” documents both the mythic and the daily meaning of food in the lives of generations of southerners using rich archival collections on southern history and important publications on southern foodways. I am currently co-editing a related work on the foodways of North Carolina, a collection of essays by scholars, food writers, and journalists who examine the state’s history and culture through its distinctive regional foodways.

I have published articles and chapters in numerous journals and anthologies, including Southern Crossroads:  Perspectives on Religion and Culture, ed. Walter H. Conser Jr. and Rodger M. Payne (2008), Cornbread Nation 1, 2, 4, and 5:  The Best of Southern Food Writing (2002, 2004, 2008, 2010),American Jewish Women:  An Historical Reader from Colonial Times to the Present, ed. Pamela Nadell (2002), Shalom Y’all:  Images of Southern Jewish Life in America, photographs by Bill Aron, edited by Vicki Reikes Fox with Bill Aron and Marcie Cohen Ferris (2002), Southern Jewish History (1998), andSouthern Cultures (Guest editor, special issue on food, Winter 2009, Spring 2012).


AMST 486: “Shalom Y’all”: The Jewish Experience in the American South
AMST 375: Cooking Up a Storm: Exploring Food in American Culture
AMST 253: Mamas and Matriarchs: A Social History of Jewish Women in America
AMST 390: No Place Like Home: Material Culture of the American South
AMST 211: Introduction to the American South: A Cultural Journey