Dr Deborah Toner

Deborah Toner 2013Associate Professor of History

Contact details

  • Tel: +44(0) 116 229 7392
  • Email: dt151@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Attenborough 514
  • Office Hours: Semester 1 Monday 10am-11am; Tuesday 3pm-4pm
  • Dissertation Hour: Monday 11am-12 noon


Personal details

I completed my BA, MA and PhD in History at the University of Warwick. My doctoral research explored the social and cultural history of alcohol in nineteenth-century Mexico, through an interdisciplinary methodology, synthesising the analysis of archival records, medical texts, and government publications, with literary texts.

I subsequently held an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, as well as teaching positions at the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Warwick. Before joining the School of Historical Studies in 2012, I completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, where I established an international research network, convened a series of events, and compiled a digital library of resources on the subject of Liberalism in the Americas.


My teaching interests are chronologically and geographically broad, encompassing North, Central and South America and ranging across some 1,000 years! Whether considering life within the Aztec empire or gang-related crime in 1920s Chicago, my teaching often relates to core themes in social and cultural history: gender, social class, race and ethnicity, and the relationship between reality and representation.

Key questions related to my research interests also feature prominently in my modules, including the social and cultural importance of alcohol, colonialism and colonialist discourse, and indigenous histories. Methodologically, I often encourage students to approach subjects using a comparative framework, in order to foster skills in the identification of patterns, trends and differences within large-scale historical processes.

Examples of modules I teach:



Toner D (2016) !Tequila! Distilling the Spirit of Mexico. JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, 48 (1), pp. 209-211 10.1017/S0022216X15001455

Toner DF (2015) Review: Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese, by Ken Albala. Food and History

Toner DF (2015) Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico.    ISBN13: 978-0-8032-7432-7 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31897
Toner DF, Hailwood M (2015) Biographies of Drink: A Case Study Approach to our Historical Relationship with Alcohol.   ISBN10: 1-4438-7155-9 ISBN13: 978-1-4438-7155-6 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31896
Toner DF (2015) Mirrors of Alcoholism: Nation, Self and Modernity in Fin-de-Siècle Mexican Literature. In: Toner DF, Hailwood M (Eds.) Biographies of Drink: A Case Study Approach to our Historical Relationship with Alcohol  pp. 158-182 ISBN10: 1-4438-7155-9 ISBN13: 978-1-4438-7155-6 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31891
Toner DF (2014) Provincial Political Cultures and the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Mexican Fiction. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 20 (2), pp. 161-18310.1080/14701847.2014.984995   http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31589
Toner DF (2014) Review: Distilling the Influence of Alcohol in Guatemala, ed. by David Carey Jr. Hispanic American Historical Review,  10.1215/00182168-2802858
Toner DF (2013) Liberalism in the Americas Digital Archive.      
Toner D (2013) Celebration, spectacles and theatricality in Conquistador Mexico. BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH, 32 (3), pp. 374-376   http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31577
Toner D (2013) A History of Latin America. JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, 45, pp. 161-163 10.1017/S0022216X13000163   http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31561
Toner DF, Hailwood M (2013) Special Issue: Developments in the Brewing, Retail and Consumption of Alcohol in Early Modern England. Brewery History, 150   
Toner D (2012) Traveling from New Spain to Mexico: Mapping Practices of Nineteenth-Century Mexico, By Magali Carerra. JOURNAL OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, 44, pp. 627-629 10.1017/S0022216X12000685
Toner DF (2012) Drinking to Fraternity: Alcohol, Masculinity, and National Identity in the Novels of Manuel Payno and Heriberto Frías. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (Liverpool), 89 (4), pp. 397-412 10.3828/bhs.2012.32
Toner DF (2011) Everything in its Right Place? Drinking Places and Social Spaces in Mexico City, c. 1780-1900. Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, 25 (1-2), pp. 26-48   http://hdl.handle.net/2381/31631
Toner DF (2010) Xóchitl’s Bar: Pulquerías and Mexican costumbrismo. Art and Architecture of the Americas, 8, pp. 1-16    http://hdl.handle.net


My research interests include the social history of nation-building, race and identity, and political culture in the Americas in the nineteenth century, especially Mexico and the border regions of the United States.

I am also particularly interested in the social and cultural history of drinking in the Americas, and the expanding interdisciplinary field of drinking studies, which I have supported through the establishment and co-ordination since 2010 of a Drinking Studies Network based at the University of Warwick.

I am currently working on a research project that brings together all these areas of enquiry: a comparative study of the relationship between alcohol consumption, race, and nationhood in the US and Mexico in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In this comparative research, I am focusing particularly on soldiers' drinking habits in the Mexican-American war, the display of indigenous peoples and material culture in late nineteenth-century International Exhibitions, and the early twentieth-century experiments with Prohibition.

Among my future plans for research is a project investigating concepts and practices of liberal citizenship during periods of war in the Americas, taking the Mexican-American war (1846-48) as a starting point


  • Mexican history
  • Mexican-American relations in the 19th century
  • Social and cultural history of alcohol

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