Studying Southern Identity: Meet John Shelton Reed

Mar 21, 2016

John monitors his slow cooker

John Shelton Reed did not think of himself as a southerner until his classmates at MIT pointed it out.

The Tennessee native was going to school in the northeast just as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s took off. It was the beginning of a career dedicated to the study of southern culture.

He came to it as a kind of outsider in his own home but quickly returned to his roots, helped create the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, and has become one of the preeminent voices on the "correct" way to make North Carolina barbecue. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Reed about his research of Southern culture and how he grappled with his own identity as a southerner. Reed's new book, "Barbecue" (UNC Press/2016) was released earlier this month. He is also a co-founder of the Campaign for Real Barbecue.