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Lisa Tolbert

Dr. Lisa Tolbert

Contact Information

Email: lctolber@uncg.edu
Office: 2109 MHRA
Office Phone: 336-334-3987


Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1994
M.A. and Certificate in Museum Studies, University of Delaware, 1987
B.A., Vanderbilt University, 1983

Teaching Experience

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2000-
Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1994-99
Instructor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1994 
Teaching Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992-1993
Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988-1993
Writing Across the Curriculum Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989
Teaching Assistant, University of Delaware, 1984-1986

Current Project

Doggeries, Jungles, and Piggly Wigglies: Southerners and the Social Landscape of Food Shopping, 1840-1940
The traditional emphasis on the role of the general store in the commercial landscape of the South has obscured the complexity of commercial building and consumer choices in the region. With particular attention to issues of race and gender, this project traces the evolution of food shopping spaces and social practices in the South from the antebellum period through the 1930s in order to understand the variety and complexity of the commercial landscape in the region.

Courses Taught

  • HIS 211: American History to 1865 (undergraduate level) - Critical thinking approach to the survey of American history from the Colonial era to the Civil War. Students focus on primary source analysis.
  • HIS 324: Frontier in American Culture (undergraduate level) - Explores the meanings of the frontier as a symbol in the development of a distinctive American culture. Students evaluate different types of historical evidence including maps, paintings, films, documents, folklore, and such popular cultural inventions as the wild west show.
  • HIS 325: History of the American Home (undergraduate level) - Focuses on the history of housing and house types as historical evidence of social change from the colonial period through the twentieth century. Topics include the symbolism and politics of domesticity, the evolving functions of particular rooms and spaces, new technologies that reshaped houses, and the diversity of American homes based on region, ethnicity, and class.
  • HIS 326: Using Photographs as Historical Evidence (undergraduate level) - Case study approach using photographs as historical evidence from the Civil War to the Great Depression. Topics include Civil War photography, private and public portraits, social documentaries of the Progressive Era and New Deal.
  • HIS 327: American Cultural History (undergraduate level) - Explores the development of American culture from the colonial period through the early twentieth century. Students practice analysis of a variety of non-traditional historical sources, including paintings, gravestones, houses, amusement parks, folk tales, fashion, and music.
  • HIS 343: The Old South (undergraduate level) - The themes of place and people constitute the core organizing principles of this course focusing on the history of the American South from the colonial era to the emergence of the cotton kingdom in the nineteenth century.
  • HIS 511A: Research and Writing Seminar: Doing History in the Dining Room (graduate level) - Students develop research projects in a museum context related to the history of foodways. Topics include the invention of the dining room, the social politics of tea drinking, and the archaeology of African American cooking.
  • HIS 546: American Cultural History: Surveying the Field: Problems and Methods in Cultural History (graduate level) - Advanced reading seminar that provides an overview of key periods in the development of American culture from the colonial era to the early twentieth century and emphasizes interdisciplinary methodologies in the field.
  • HIS 546: American Cultural History: Thinking Visually about History (graduate level) - Advanced reading seminar focusing on the critical perspectives and methods of historians who use some form of visual evidence in their work, from pre-industrial to mass-produced objects, and from paintings to photographs.
  • HIS 546: American Cultural History: Antebellum American Culture (graduate level) - Advanced reading seminar explores such topics as construction of a national identity, the problem of American exceptionalism, popular culture and the formation of class identity, and the dynamic between those at the margins and those at the center of cultural influence in nineteenth-century America.
  • HIS 624: History of American Landscapes and Architecture (graduate level) - Advanced reading seminar that introduces students to the variety of methods developed by architectural and cultural historians to interpret buildings and landscapes as cultural artifacts with historically specific meanings that must be understood in particular context over time.
  • HIS 709: Introductory Research Seminar

Recent Publications

Tolbert Book

  • Constructing Townscapes: Space and Society in Antebellum Tennessee. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
    Using existing architectural evidence as well as photographs, maps, diaries, letters, and newspapers, this book evaluates the relationships between material and social contexts of town life and shows that small towns, whose stories have usually been considered incidental to the course of early Southern history, should actually be understood as important components of antebellum southern culture.
  • "Murder in Franklin: The Mysteries of Small-Town Slavery," in Trial and Triumph: Tennessee's African American History, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2002.
  • "Murder in Franklin: The Mysteries of Small-Town Slavery," Tennessee Historical Quarterly 57, no.4 (December 1998).
  • "Commercial Blocks and Female Colleges: The Small-Town Business of Educating Ladies." In Shaping Communities: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, Volume VI, pp. 204-215. Edited by Carter L. Hudgins and Elizabeth Collins Cromley. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997. [Winner of the Southeast Society of Architectural Historians Award for Best Essay.]
  • "Two Hundred Years of Student Life at UNC," Southern Research Report, No. 4., Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, November 1993.
  • Other publications listed on Vitae.

Grants and Awards

  • Research Assignment, UNCG, Fall 2003
  • Mellon Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society, 2002
  • Dean's Merit Award for Research, UNCG, 2000
  • Dean's Merit Award for Teaching Excellence, UNCG, 1999
  • Summer Excellence Foundation Grant, UNCG, 1999
  • NEH Summer Stipend, 1998
  • Other awards listed on Vitae.

Curriculum Vitae

Teaching Portfolio

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