Dr Deborah Toner

Associate Professor of History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7392



I am a social and cultural historian of Mexico, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. I specialise in the history of alcohol, food and identity, particularly in terms of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, medicine and nationalism. I have been Co-Director of the Drinking Studies Network, an interdisciplinary organisation connecting researchers of drink and drinking cultures across different societies and time periods, since its foundation in 2010.


I am currently engaged in three major research projects. Firstly, my AHRC-funded Leadership Fellowship, “Alcohol, Race and Ethnicity: The United States, Mexico and the Wider World, 1845-1940”, examines how racial stereotypes about the drinking behaviours of different ethnic groups were formulated in dialogue with each other across borders. Secondly, as co-investigator on the ESRC-funded project, “Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders in Guyana’s jails, 1825-present” I have been researching the history of prisons, substance use and regulation, mental health infrastructure, and concepts of addiction in the Caribbean. Thirdly I am co-editing The Routledge Companion to Gender and Borderlands, an interdisciplinary collection which brings together essays in history, literature, cultural studies, international politics, geography, media studies, development studies, sociology and visual arts. The Companion examines asymmetrical relations of domination and subordination of borderlands as they play out in influence and reflect gender dynamics at a global level.



Toner, Deborah ed. (2021). Alcohol in the Age of Industry, Empire and War. London: Bloomsbury.

Benjamin, J., Abbots, E.J., Fleming, J., and Toner, D. (2018). Stories on our Plate: Recipes and Conversations. No place of publication.

Toner, Deborah (2015). Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Hailwood, Mark and Toner, Deborah, eds. (2015). Biographies of Drink: A Case Study Approach to our Historical Relationship with Alcohol. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Abbots, E.J., Thomas, H., Toner, D., Charalambidou, A., Martins, A., and Forde, E. (2015). Authentic Recipes from Around the World. Ceredigion: HAT Events.

Journal Articles and Chapters in Books

Moss, Kellie, Adams, Estherine, and Toner, Deborah (2022). Immigration, Intoxication, Insanity, and Incarceration in British Guiana. Slavery & Abolition, 43(4), pp. 705-29.

Toner, Deborah, and Avelar, Lucas Brunozi (2022). Alcohol, Slavery and Race in Brazil during the Long Nineteenth Century. In Routledge Handbook of Intoxicants and Intoxication, eds. Geoffrey Hunt, Tamar M. J. Antin, and Vibeke Asmussen Frank. London: Routledge.

Toner, D., Anderson, C. and Joseph Jackson, S. (2021). Changing Approaches to Mental Healthcare in the Caribbean Conferences on Mental Health, 1957-1969. Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies Working Paper Series, [online]

Moss, K. and Toner, D. (2021). History of Substance Use and Control in British Guiana. Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies Working Paper Series, [online]

Toner, Deborah and Townend, Paul (2021). Religion and Ideology. In Alcohol in the Age of Industry, Empire and War, ed. Deborah Toner. London: Bloomsbury.

Toner, Deborah (2021). Cultural Representations. In Alcohol in the Age of Industry, Empire and War, ed. Deborah Toner. London: Bloomsbury.

Toner, Deborah (2019). Mexico's National Drinks: Pulque, Tequila and the Temporalities of Authenticity. Food and History, 17(2), pp. 75-102.

Toner, Deborah (2019). Consuming Authenticities: Time, Place and the Past in the Construction of 'Authentic' Foods and Drinks. Food and History, 17(2), pp. 9-18.

Toner, Deborah (2015). Mirrors of Alcoholism: Nation, Self and Modernity in Fin-de-Siecle Mexican Literature. In Biographies of Drink: A Case Study Approach to our Historical Relationship with Alcohol, eds. Mark Hailwood and Deborah Toner. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Toner, Deborah (2014). Provincial Political Cultures and the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Mexican Fiction. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 20(2), pp. 161-183.

Toner, Deborah (2012). Drinking to Fraternity: Alcohol, Masculinity and National Identity in the Novels of Manuel Payno and Heriberto Frias. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 89(4), pp. 397-412.

Toner, Deborah (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), pp. 26-48.

Toner, Deborah (2010). Xochitl's Bar: Pulquerias and Mexican costumbrismoArt and Architecture of the Americas, 8, pp. 1-16. 



  • Social and cultural history of alcohol
  • Social and cultural history of food
  • Mexican history
  • Mexican American relations, especially in the nineteenth century


My teaching interests are chronologically and geographically broad, encompassing North, Central and South America and ranging across some 1000 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. Some example modules: Global History: Connections and Cultures in a Changing World; From Beer to Fraternity: Alcohol Society and Culture in North America; Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. 

Press and media

Any aspect of alcohol history.
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