Food Studies, Labor History, Southern History, Urban Studies, Global Education


Bryant Simon is professor of history at Temple University. He is the author most recently of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America (2004), and Everything But the Coffee: Learning About America from Starbucks (2009). His research and scholarship has earned awards and honors from the Fulbright Commission, Humboldt Foundation, Urban History Association, Organization of American Historians, and the Smithsonian Institution. His work and popular commentary have been featured in the New Yorker, Washington Post, New Republic, and numerous other outlets. Over last five years, Simon has lectured around the world and taught at the National University of Singapore, University of Tubingen, and University of Erfurt, and has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Simon’s current work focuses on food and society. Currently, he is putting together a collection of documents about food and the American history with Professor James Giesen, for Wiley. In addition, he is working on broad ranging study of one of the worst industrial accidents in the recent American past. In 1991, a factory in Hamlet, North Carolina that had never been inspected blew up, killing twenty-five people who were trapped inside behind locked doors. Prior to the blast, the workers made chicken tenders that sold in restaurants for $1.99, fries and drink included. Simon’s book will explore this story, but even more the high and often deliberately hidden costs of cheap government, cheap food, and cheap labor in United States and around the rest of the world.

Selected Publications

  • Everything But the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009). (Published in Japanese with new introduction Iwanami Shoten Publisher, 2013).
  • Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America (Oxford University Press, 2004). McCormick Award Winner
  • ‘Jumpin’ Jim Crow’: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights, co-edited with Jane Dailey and Glenda Gilmore, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).
  • A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).
  • Food and Eating in America: A Documentary Reader, co-edited with James Giesen (New York: Wiley, under contract, 2016).

Courses Taught

  • American Icons
  • US History, 1865 to Present
  • The City and American Life
  • Food and History