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Faculty Travel Hosts

About Our Faculty

Many Tar Heel Travel trips feature lectures by our award-winning faculty. Faculty members who have traveled with us recently or who are scheduled to travel with us include the following.

Peter Coclanis

Coclanis_Peter_webPeter Coclanis, Albert R. Newsome Professor and former chair of the history department, is director of the Global Research Institute at UNC. The Global Research Institute, founded in 2009, is envisioned as a center for scholarly research on key international questions. Previously, he served as UNC’s first associate provost for international affairs, providing leadership for the University’s international endeavors, serving as spokesman and overseer of international activities, and leading in the development of UNC’s global mission.  In fall 2005, Coclanis held the Sir Thomas Stafford Raffles Distinguished Professorship in History at the National University of Singapore.  He travels a great deal to Southeast Asia and has published extensively on the region, and serves on the board of the Kenan Institute Asia.  Born in Chicago, Coclanis received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1984, joining the faculty at UNC that same year. Professor Coclanis will serve as lecturer on our Classic Germany trip in 2018 and on our Classic China and the Yangzte trip in 2019.

Bart Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has taught since 1988.  Professor Ehrman has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, having written or edited thirty-one books, including five New York Times Bestsellers.  He has also recorded eight lecture courses for The Great Courses (The Teaching Company).   More than two million copies of his books and courses have been sold, and his books have been translated into twenty-seven languages. Professor Ehrman will serve as lecturer on our Israel: Timeless Wonders trip in 2018.

James Thompson

James Thompson is Professor of English and Comparative literature, past chair of the Department of English and presently Associate Dean for Undergraduate Curricula of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has taught early modern literature, principally eighteenth and nineteenth century British literature, for 36 years at Carolina, during which time he has published 5 books and numerous articles. In his scholarly writing and in his classes, Thompson inevitability connects literary texts with social history, for he is convinced that early modern people imagined their relations to the world around them differently than we do today. While he has written on the drama and poetry of the period, his first love is the novel, and among all novelists, Jane Austen, on whom he has published 3 books. A Janeite since his teens, Thompson loves her unique union of satire and romance, her ability to critique her society right alongside her utopian vision of our best selves.  Professor Thompsonl will serve as lecturer on our Journey to Cornwall trip in 2018.

George Lensing

George Lensing recently retired from the English Department having taught in the department for 47 years.  His special interests include twentieth century literature, especially poetry.  He as been Dean of Honors, secretary of the faculty, Director of Office of Distinguished Scholarships and served in various administrative offices in the English Department. Dr. Lensing will serve as lecturer on our Journey Through Britain trip in 2018.

Kevin Stewart

Kevin Stewart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley and his research is focused on the evolution of mountain belts, including the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming. Stewart has won several University teaching awards and is the co-author of Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas from UNC Press. He has served as UNC enrichment lecturer on previous alumni tours to Alaska and the national parks of the Northwestern and Southwestern U.S. Professor Stewart will serve as lecturer on our Norwegian Splendor trip in 2018.

Jodi Magness

Jodi Magness
Jodi Magness is currently Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and adjunct professor of classics and archaeology.  Her career has included research and teaching positions at Brown University and Tufts University, where she taught Classical Archaeology for ten years.  Her 2002 book on The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls won the Biblical Archaeology Society’s award for “Best Popular Book on Archaeology” and was selected as an “Outstanding Academic Book for 2003” by Choice Magazine.  Magness will serve as enrichment lecturer on our Israel: Timeless Wonders alumni trip in 2019.

Bill Ferris

Bill Ferris

William R. Ferris, a widely recognized leader in Southern studies, African American music and folklore, is the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the senior associate director of its Center for the Study of the American South. He is also adjunct professor in the curriculum on folklore.

The former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1997-2001), Ferris has conducted thousands of interviews with musicians ranging from the famous (B.B. King) to the unrecognized (Parchman Penitentiary inmates working in the fields).

He has written or edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films. He co-edited the massive “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” (UNC Press, 1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His other books include: “Mule Trader: Ray Lum’s Tales of Horses, Mules and Men” (1992), “Local Color” (1982, 1992), “Images of the South: Visits with Eudora Welty and Walker Evans” (1978), “Mississippi Black Folklore: A Research Bibliography and Discography” (1971), “Blues from the Delta” (1970, 1978, 1988), translated into Italian as “Il Blues del Delta” (2011), and “Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues” (2009), translated into French as “Les Voix du Mississippi” (2013).  His most recent book, “The South in Color: A Visual Journal,” was published in 2016 by the University of North Carolina Press.

Bill Ferris’ films include “Mississippi Blues” (1983), which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival. He has produced numerous sound recordings and hosted “Highway 61,” a weekly blues program on Mississippi Public Radio for nearly a decade. He also has published his own poetry and short stories.

A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Ferris was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he taught for 18 years. He also taught at Yale University and Jackson State University. A graduate of Davidson College, he received a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania (1969).

He has won many prestigious honors, including the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award, and the W.C. Handy Blues Award. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine named him among the Top Ten Professors in the United States. He is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. In 2014, the French translation of Give My Poor Heart Ease won the Coup de Coeur de l’Académie Charles Cros Musiques du Monde prize from Académie Charles Cros in the world music book category, and Ferris received the B. L. C. Wailes Award, given to a Mississippian who has achieved national recognition in the field of history by the Mississippi Historical Society.  In 2017, Ferris received the Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

At Carolina, Ferris has been teaching classes on the history of music in the American South and its impact on the region’s history and culture. His students have explored Native American songs, Appalachian folk ballads and Afro-American hymns, spirituals and work chants, and considered a range of forms including blues, country music, gospel, jazz, rock, and rap.

Ferris will serve as enrichment lecturer for our Scottish Isles & Norwegian Fjords alumni trip in 2019.

Lloyd Kramer

Lloyd Kramer

Kramer’s interests focus on modern European history with an emphasis on 19th-century France. He is particularly interested in historical processes that shape cultural identities, including the experiences of cross-cultural exchange and the emergence of modern nationalism. Other research and teaching interests deal with the roles of intellectuals in modern societies and the theoretical foundations of historical knowledge. His teaching stresses the importance of reading, discussing and writing about influential books in various eras of European history and world history. One recurring theme in all of his research and teaching stresses the importance of cross-cultural exchanges in modern world history. Kramer will serve as enrichment lecturer for our Normandy alumni trip in 2019.

Brent Wissick

Brent Wissick

Brent Wissick is the Zachary Taylor Smith Distinguished Term Professor in the Department of Music, where he has taught cello, viola da gamba and chamber music since 1982. A member of Ensemble Chanterelle and principal cellist of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, he is also a frequent guest with American Bach Soloists, Folger Consort, Boston Early Music Festival, Concert Royal, Dallas Bach Society, Vancouver Early Music Festival and Collegio di Musica Sacra in Poland. With these ensembles has recorded for the Centaur, Albany, Koch, Radio Bremen, Bard and Dux labels as well as in the soundtrack for the Touchstone film Casanova. His online video article, “The Cello Music of Bononcini” can be viewed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music and several of his teaching videos are posted on the website of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. He served as president of that society from 2000 through 2004 and chaired its international Pan-Pacific Gamba Gathering in Hawaii during the summer of 2007.

In addition to teaching cello at UNC, he directs its Cello Choir, Viol Consort and Baroque Ensemble; he also teaches classes in Historical Performance Practices and String Methods for Music Education Students as well as a First-Year Seminar in the Physics of Music with Laurie McNeil, chair of the Physics Department. He has served as mentor of the Kenan Music Scholars and is chair of the String Area.
His current research and performance interests include the cello music of Benjamin Britten, Chopin’s Cello Music on period instruments and French Gamba Music. A graduate of the Crane School of Music at Potsdam College in NY and of Penn State (MM cello, 1978), he also studied with John Hsu at Cornell University and was an NEH Fellow at Harvard in the 1993 Beethoven Quartet Seminar. He has taught at the College of St Scholastica in Minnesota (1978-82), Chautauqua Institution and the 1997 Aston Magna Academy at Yale; and has presented lectures, master classes and recitals at schools, colleges and workshops throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Wissick will serve as enrichment lecturer for our Journey Along the Elbe alumni trip in 2019.

Don Raleigh

Donald J. Raleigh

Don Raleigh is the Jay Richard Judson Distinguished Professor of History. His research and teaching interests focus on twentieth-century Russian history. As a political and social historian, he wrote extensively on the Russian Revolution, with a particular emphasis on local history. Access to long-sealed Soviet archives shaped his later work on the Russian civil war as did his interest in cultural history. More recently, Professor Raleigh has practiced oral history in the post-WWII period and is currently writing a biography of Soviet leader Leonid Ilich Brezhnev. His most recent book is Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War Generation (Oxford University Press, 2012). Raleigh has traveled to Russia 40 times since 1971 and served as the enrichment lecturer on three alumni tours to Russia and Ukraine. This year will mark his fourth time serving as enrichment lecturer, as he travels with alumni on our St. Petersburg & the Baltics trip.

Bernie Herman

Bernard Herman

Bernie Herman is the George B. Tindall Professor and Chair of American studies. He was educated at the College of William and Mary before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Herman is the author of The Stolen House; Architecture and Rural Life in Central Delaware, 1700-1900; and Town House: Architecture and Material Life in the Early American City, 1760-1830—each awarded the Abbott Lowell Cummings Award as the best book on North American vernacular architecture. He has published essays on quilts, self-taught and outsider arts, foodways, historical archaeology, vernacular photography, and theoretical approaches to the study and interpretation of objects. His current research projects include Quilt Spaces, an oral history of quilts and quilt makers, a history of first-period (1675-1740) Delaware Valley houses, and a collection of essays, Troublesome Things, exploring themes in outsider arts and craft. Herman will serve as enrichment lecturer on our Cruise Rhine River alumni trip in 2019.