Marcie Cohen Ferris
|1 Mint Springs Lane
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
320 Greenlaw, UNC-CH,
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520
I am associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My husband Bill Ferris and I moved to Chapel Hill in 2002 after living in Washington, DC, where Bill served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. During our five years in Washington, I completed a Ph.D. in American Studies at George Washington University.
Our time in Washington allowed me to transition from twenty years in the field of museums and public history into university teaching. Prior to receiving my doctorate in 2003, 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 in Jackson, Mississippi, 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.
In 2003, I joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and since 2008, have served as coordinator of Southern Studies in the American Studies Department. I also serve on a faculty committee charged with creating a graduate program in American Studies at UNC- Chapel Hill.
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. Although valuable sources exist for the study of southern food, the field lacks a comprehensive social history that establishes a methodology for the analysis of food in the region. Responding to the need for a core text, "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. This work examines historic "moments" in the region that demonstrate the expressive power of food over time.
The concept for this book developed when I taught courses on food and American culture at the University of North Carolina and when I served as president of the Southern Foodways Alliance from 2006 to 2008. I recently edited a special foodways issue for Southern Cultures (Nov. 2009)---the quarterly journal published by UNC's Center for the Study of the American South. My introductory essay is an overview of the field of southern foodways and the basis for chapters one and two in "The Edible South." 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), and Southern Cultures (Fall 2004 and Fall 2009).
Jewish Roots in Southern Soil: A New History, eds. Marcie C. Ferris and Mark I. Greenberg, University of New England Press on behalf of Brandeis University, 2006.
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South, University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
"God First, You Second, Me Third: An Exploration of Quiet Jewishness at Camp Wah-Kon-Dah," Southern Cultures, University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming.
"Why Study Southern Food," Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing, ed. Fred Sauceman (University of Georgia Press, 2010).
"The Edible South," introductory essay to special food issue of Southern Cultures (Nov. 2009), guest editor for volume, Marcie C. Ferris. ( PDF)
"Feeding the Jewish Soul in the Delta Diaspora," Southern Crossroads: Perspectives on Religion and Culture, ed. Walter H. Conser Jr. and Rodger M. Payne (University Press of Kentucky, 2008). ( PDF)
"Boundary Foods," Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing, ed. John Shelton Reed and Dale Reed (University of Georgia Press, 2008).
"Why Jews Don't Get Quail," Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing, ed. John Shelton Reed and Dale Reed (University of Georgia Press, 2008). ( PDF)
"Mildred 'Mama Dip' Council" entry in African American National Biography, eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (W.E.B. Dubois Insitute and Oxford University Press, 2008).
"Food and Gender," "Food and Ethnicity," and "Jewish Foodways" entries in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 7: Foodways, eds., James G. Thompson, Ann J. Abadie, John T. Edge, Charles R. Wilson (University of North Carolina Press, 2007). ( PDF)
"Exploring Southern Jewish Foodways," Food and Judaism, ed. Leonard J. Greenspoon, Ronald A. Simkins, and Gerald Shapiro (Creighton University Press, 2005). ( PDF)
"Feeding the Jewish Soul in the Delta Diaspora," Southern Cultures, Fall 2004, University of North Carolina Press.
"We didn't know from fatback: A Southern Jewish Perspective on Barbecue." Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing, ed. John Egerton (University of North Carolina Press, 2004). ( PDF)
"From the Recipe File of Luba Cohen." Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, ed. John Egerton (University of North Carolina Press, 2002). ( PDF)
"From the Recipe File of Luba Cohen: A Study of Southern Jewish Foodways and Cultural Identity," American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, ed., Pamela S. Nadell (NYU Press, 2002). ( PDF)
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. Introductions by Alfred Uhry and Eli Evans (Algonquin Press, 2002).
"From the Recipe File of Luba Cohen": A Study of Southern Jewish Foodways and Cultural Identity," Southern Jewish History, vol. 2, 1999. ( PDF)
"The Journals of Joshua Whitman, Turner, Maine, 1809-1846." The Farm: The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife Annual Proceedings 1986 XI (1988), pp. 49-59. ( PDF)
Associate Producer, The Natchez Jewish Experience, Edward Cohen, Producer/Director, 1994. Documentary on history of the Jewish community in Natchez, Mississippi, late 1700s to the present.
The Chosen Folks: Jews on the Frontiers of Texas by Bryan Edward Stone (University of Texas Press, 2010) forthcoming, American Jewish History.
Eating History: 30 Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine by Andrew F. Smith (Columbia University Press, 2009) in The Journal of American History (in press).
Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine by Andrew T. Huse (University Press of Florida, 2009) in Tampa Bay History (in press).
Dixie Emporium: Tourism, Foodways, and Consumer Culture in the American South edited by Anthony J. Stanonis. (University of Georgia Press, 2008) in The Journal of Mississippi History, 2009.
Jewish American Food Culture by Jonathan Deutsch and Rachel D. Saks (Greenwood Press, 2008) in Gastronomica, Vol. 9, No. 2: 107-109, May 2009.
Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History by Deborah R. Weiner (University of Illinois Press, 2006) and In the Catskills: A Century of the Jewish Experience in "The Mountains," ed. Phil Brown (Columbia University Press, 2002) in Journal of Appalachian Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1 and 2, spring and fall 2007, 264-268. ( PDF)
A Biblical People in the Bible Belt: The Jewish Community of Memphis, Tennessee, 1840s-1960s by Selma S. Lewis (Mercer University Press, 1998) in American Jewish History, Vol. 87, No. 4, December 1999. ( PDF)