Issue 4 (Foodways)

Issue 4 (Foodways) was completed by undergraduate and graduate students in  AMST 489: “Writing Material Culture,” under the direction of editor-in-chief Bernard L. Herman in fall 2015. Students chose southern things related to Foodways in connection with the 2015-2017 university-wide academic theme, “Food for All: Local & Global Perspectives.”


Teresa Velten is overwhelmed by southern culture. After growing up in Tuebingen, Germany, she moved to Berlin to study at the Free University majoring in North American Studies and is currently spending a year studying abroad at UNC Chapel Hill. Teresa is worried that the customs officials at the airport might not let her through with all the southern pickles she wants to bring back to friends and family – but she desperately hopes they will.

Trista Reis Porter is a doctoral student in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her M.A. in the History of Art from Indiana University in 2014, where her thesis focused on the exhibition history of American folk art over the last century. This interest and approach continues to inform the way she thinks about canons in American visual and material culture, how and by whom those canons have been established, and the ways they are constructed around mediums such as ceramics, textiles, and sculpture, and categories such as folk, fine, outsider, visionary, and self-taught. An Iowa native, Trista received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Iowa in 2012.

Rachel C. Kirby was born a Virginian but raised in North Carolina, forever conflicted by her statehood identities. She is a master’s student in the Folklore Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she also has a B.A. in Art History from UNC. Before returning to school, Rachel worked for the Preservation Society of Charleston, South Carolina where she researched the stories of the city’s historic houses. She is interested in material culture, architecture, and memory, and she enjoys using the objects and landscapes of the South to discover more diverse and holistic understandings of the region’s history and culture. For her thesis, Rachel is exploring the way Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum constructs and performs the historical narratives associated with their interpretive space.

Michaela Dwyer grew up in Chapel Hill confused about her Southernness. She is currently a doctoral student in American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill investigating the outgrowths of Black Mountain College in terms of creative and artistic community spaces and their relation to civic life in the contemporary American South. Before coming to UNC, Michaela was the Bear Postgraduate Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, where she developed public humanities and arts programming and mentored undergraduates at the nexus of civic engagement and documentary writing. Michaela has also worked as an instructor, publications coordinator, and documentarian at the Governor’s School of North Carolina. She received a B.A. in English and a Certificate in Documentary Studies from Duke University.

Solomon Weiner, originally from San Antonio and Dallas, Texas, is a candidate for an MA in Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently writing his thesis which explores how residents of the Rogers Road neighborhood in Orange County, North Carolina, understand the co-development of the Civil Rights Movement and the changes they experienced in regards to rural and semi-rural landscape development. He also enjoys writing about Tex-Mex conjunto music, municipal golf courses, and, of course, food. Sol received a B.S. in Community and Justice Studies with honors from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2014.

Justin Freeman is a junior undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an aspiring nursing student. He used to think that southerness is a disease, but now accepts it as his identity through writing this essay. Plans to graduate with a Bachelors in Biology of Arts and Science.

Taylor E. Hayes is a senior undergraduate Southern Studies student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hailing from the Raleigh Area, she came upon her southern thing through a gamble. Her senior honors thesis focuses on survivalist kudzu cookbooks.

Scott Geier is a graduate student in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. He is currently studying Interactive Multimedia (i.e. how to use websites as storytelling platforms). He moved around a lot as a kid, but luckily, most of the stops were in the South. He has three kids and a pug. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the woods, looking for lost 19th century roadbeds.

Sophie Wu was born and raised in Taiwan. She is pursuing her master’s degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A newcomer to the American South, she started her project feeling very uncertain about her ability to understand the South, until she stumbled onto an object that allowed her to initiate a conversation with this foreign culture. Though still far from profoundly understanding the complexities of this region, she has found this particular object powerfully mesmerizing.

Christen Nuzum is a senior undergraduate American Studies major with a minor in Geography at UNC Chapel Hill. Pound cake was a no-brainer topic for her Southern Things piece and she appreciates it more now than ever before. She hopes you will try Teensy Mama’s Sun-Drop pound cake recipe and promises it will be a hit. Her world revolves around family, animals, mountains, and old things.

Kimber Thomas is a second year American Studies doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Kimber received her bachelor’s degree in English from Alcorn State University and her master’s degree in Afro-American Studies from UCLA. Her research interests include southern black material culture and oral history.

Emily Ridder-Beardsley is a first year student in the graduate program in Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her background is in art history and she has spent several years working in museums around the country and as a freelance curator. Emily hopes to apply what she learns as a folklorist to her future endeavors in the art world. She is also the loving owner of two dogs – Pesto and Chalupa – names that speak to her love of foodways of all kinds.

Amanda Liggin

Mary D. Williams has truly developed into a public educator, studying North Carolina history and culture. Mary has taught graduate seminars at Duke and has been doing scholarly explorations of the history and theory of gospel music at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mary is currently enrolled full-time at UNC to continue her studies in a more formal manner. Her knowledge of the music and the culture from which it emerged is not merely layman’s learning and experiential understanding, but is rooted in serious scholarly work. Mary constantly shares what she has learned with the public, from Duke Divinity School to the UNC Dental School to the public school classrooms of our state to the sanctuaries of our churches, as well as members of the U.S. Congress.  It is her primary goal not to just perform the best traditions of North Carolina, but to dissect their subtleties in an accessible manner for a wide listening and learning audience.