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Contact Information

Greenlaw Hall 412, CB #3520
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3520


Ph.D. American Studies, Yale University, 1998.
A.M. Education, Stanford University, 1985.
B.A. American Studies, Williams College 1984.

Research Interests

Timothy Marr became interested in the history of how Americans viewed the difference of Islam while teaching Moby-Dick in Pakistan during the Russian phase of the war in Afghanistan. American engagements with Muslims and the life and writings of Herman Melville have remained central fascinations for his intellectual inquiry. His book The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism (Cambridge 2006) explores how Islamic orientalism became an important transnational resource for early American global imaginings. He is presently writing a relational history that explores the century-long enterprise of military conflict, imperial governance, industrial development, and intercultural education between US Americans and the Muslim Moros of the southern Philippines. He is a co-editor of Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on Moby-Dick (Kent State 2006, paperback 2010) and has published on Melville in The Historical Guide to Herman Melville, Melville and Women, Melville “Among the Nations, The New Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville, Blackwell-Wiley’s New Companion to Herman Melville, and in the journal Leviathan. He was President of the Melville Society in 2021 and serves as an executive member of the Melville Society Cultural Project and co-editor of the History Research Group for the Melville Electronic Library.

Teaching Interests and Honors

Professor Marr is a third-generation teacher who taught high school and university in California, Connecticut, Pakistan, and Australia before joining American Studies at UNC in 2000. He has been a visiting professor at Radboud University in the Netherlands (2020) and the University of the Philippines (2014), a NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center (2013-14), a Chapman Fellow at the IAH (2009), a Fulbright lecturer in both the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus (2007), and the recipient of a Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2006). He has served as president of the Melville Society and directed NEH-funded Summer Institutes on Moby-Dick and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age in 2018 and 2021.

Courses Taught at UNC

AMST 55:   Birth and Death in the United States
AMST 201: Approaches to American Studies
AMST 211: Introduction to Southern Studies
AMST 252: Muslim American Literature and Cultures
AMST 257: Melville: Culture and Criticism
AMST 258: Captivity and American Cultural Definition
AMST 259: Tobacco and America
AMST 269: Mating and Marriage in America
AMST 291: Privacy and Surveillance in America
AMST 335: Defining America II (with John Kasson)
AMST 384: Myth and History in American Memory
AMST 701: Interdisciplinary Research Methodologies
AMST 702: Readings In American Studies
AMST 890: Studies in American Memory; Herman Melville