Timothy Marr is a Distinguished Term Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of American Studies. He holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
Marr is a third generation teacher who taught high school and university in California, Connecticut, Pakistan, and Australia before joining American Studies at UNC in 2000. In recent years, he has been a NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center (2013-14), a Chapman Fellow at the Institute for Arts and Humanities (2009), a Fulbright lecturer in both the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus (2007), and the recipient of a Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2006). While teaching in Chapel Hill, he has developed and offered interdisciplinary American Studies seminars on such topics as Birth and Death, Tobacco, Captivity, Herman Melville, Cultural Memory, and Mating and Marriage.
He became interested in the history of how Americans viewed the difference of Islam while teaching Moby-Dick in Pakistan during the Russian phase of the war in Afghanistan. American engagements with Muslims and the life and writings of Herman Melville have remained central fascinations for his intellectual inquiry. His book The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism (Cambridge 2006) explores how Islamic orientalism became an important transnational resource for early American global imaginings. In 2011, an Arabic translation was published by Kalima Foundation in Abu Dhabi. In 2008, Marr edited the first version of Peter Markoe’s The Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania to be published in 221 years. He is presently writing a relational history that explores the century-long enterprise of military conflict, imperial governance, industrial development, and intercultural education between US Americans and the Muslim Moros of the southern Philippines. He is a co-editor of Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on Moby-Dick (Kent State 2006, paperback 2010) and has published on Melville in The Historical Guide to Herman Melville, Melville and Women, Melville “Among the Nations,” The New Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville, and in the journal Leviathan. He also serves as an executive member of the Melville Society Cultural Project and a co-editor of the History Research Group for the Melville Electronic Library.
Marr has been appointed Faculty Fellowship Program Director at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities beginning July 1, 2018. He succeeds Associate Professor Michele Berger (Women’s and Gender Studies), who has served in the role for five years.