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).