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
Carolina Center for Jewish Studies
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
Marcie Cohen Ferris is a professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ferris’s research and teaching interests include southern history and culture–particularly the foodways and material culture of the American South, the history of the Jewish South, and American Jewish identity and culture. In 2007, Ferris received the University of North Carolina’s Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. From 2006-2008, Ferris served as president of the board of directors of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Ferris has extensive experience in the field of public history as a museum educator/administrator, including, Norlands, a living history farm museum (Livermore, ME), Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA), Elderhostel (Boston, MA), and the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience (Jackson, MS).
Ferris’s Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South (UNC Press, 2005) was nominated for a 2006 James Beard Foundation Award. She is co-editor of Jewish Roots in Southern Soil: A New History (University Press of New England, 2006). In Ferris’s current book, The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region, (UNC Press, 2014) the experience of food serves as an evocative lens onto colonial settlements and antebellum plantations, New South cities and Civil Rights-era lunch counters, chronic hunger and agricultural reform, counterculture communes and iconic restaurants. This text examines how food–as cuisine and as commodity–has expressed and shaped southern identity to the present day. Before her January 2015 appointment as an editor for Southern Cultures, a quarterly journal of the history and cultures of the U.S. South, Ferris served as guest editor for three special issues on food (winter 2009, summer 2012, spring 2015).
In the spring of 2015, Ferris and Sharon Holland (AMST) introduced a new team-taught course, “Carolina Cooks, Carolina Eats,” a multi-tiered project of teaching, research, publication, and service at UNC-CH that explores the history, culture, and contemporary politics of food in North Carolina through an in-depth study of regional food ‘voices.’ Ferris is currently working on the related publication for this project, “The Big Book of North Carolina Foodways,” a social history/ documentary text on the Tar Heel state’s food cultures.
Ferris and Alice Ammerman (UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention) are co-chairs for the University of North Carolina’s new pan-university campus theme of food (2015-2017), which will explore issues and scholarly topics from food security to food cultures, agriculture, sustainable development, market economics, and climate change.
- AMST 486: “Shalom Y’all”: The Jewish Experience in the American South
- AMST 375: Cooking Up a Storm: Exploring Food in American Culture. This course alternates with ”Carolina Cooks, Carolina Eats” http://carolinacooks.web.unc.edu
- AMST 253: Mamas and Matriarchs: A Social History of Jewish Women in America
- AMST 488: No Place Like Home: Material Culture of the American South
- AMST 211: Introduction to the American South: A Cultural Journey
LINKS FOR THE EDIBLE SOUTH: THE POWER OF FOOD AND THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN REGION (UNC PRESS, FALL 2014)