Shalom Y'all: An Archival Study of the Jewish Experience in the American South

The following exhibits were created by the students of American Studies 486: Shalom Y'all: The Jewish Experience in the American South, tought by Dr. Marcie Cohen Ferris in the Fall of 2015. In groups of five or six, the undergraduate students selected a collection of materials from Wilson Library that allowed for a close reading and discussion of the Jewish experience in the South.

The exhibits explore ethnicity in the South, particularly focusing on Jewish southerners. Since the arrival of Sephardic Jews in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Jews in the American South have blended their regional identity as Jews and as southerners. This exhibit examines the "braided identity" of Jews in the South--their relationships with white and black Gentile southerners, their loyalty to the South as a region, and their embrace of southern culture. It explores Jewish contributions in intellectual, political, and economic life, and in folklife, decorative arts, literature, photography, religion, material culture, agriculture, mass media, and popular culture. Through the exhibits, forty-eight undergraduate students trace the history of Jewish southerners, and use primary documents to explore the layered identity of individuals who are simultaneously southern and Jewish.

Dr. Marcie Cohen Ferris, Professor

Rachel C. Kirby, Teaching Assistant and Project Manager


Special thanks to:

The Louis Round Wilson Library Special Collections

Matthew Turi, Manuscripts Research and Instruction Librarian

Stewart Varner, Digital Scholarship Librarian

Natalie Ornat, Library and Research Assistant


AMST 486 Fall 2015