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Photo credit: Marsha Miller

Contact Information

UNC College of Arts and Sciences
Campus Box 3100
205 South Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3100
(919) 962-1165


Ph.D. Emory University, 1999.
M.A. Emory University, 1997.
B.A. Duke University, 1992.

Research Interests and Honors

I joined the Department of American Studies as the John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies in January 2015. I currently serve as the Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts & Sciences. I co-direct the pan-university initiative, Southern Futures ( ). My most recent book project is The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables (2019). I am also the author or editor of The Larder: Food Studies Methods from the American South (2013, co-edited with John T. Edge and Ted Ownby), A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food (2011), Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket (2009), Beyond Hill and Hollow: Original Readings in Appalachian Women’s Studies (2005), The Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature (2003), and The Power and the Glory: An Appalachian Novel (2003, a reprint of a 1910 novel by Grace MacGowan Cooke).

Throughout my research, I draw from letters, diaries, cookbooks, novels, photographs, government records, short stories, and material objects. I work to collect and build alternative archives as well, especially in terms of oral histories with living subjects, and, increasingly, the seeds, heritage ingredients, tastes, and even sounds of the communities with which I partner and whose stories I aim to help document. While my recent work has coalesced around the futures of the American south, my commitment to Appalachian studies and the power and possibility of region, race, gender, and class continues to motivate me as a scholar.