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Contact Information

Greenlaw Hall 437, CB #3520
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520


Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1977.
M.A., University of Iowa, 1975.
A.B., Davidson College, 1972.

Research Interests and Honors

Robert C. Allen is co-director of the Community Histories Workshop and the James Logan Godfrey Professor of American Studies.  Established in 2016, the Community Histories Workshop (CHW) works with local communities to recover, preserve, and share the memories, stories, and materials that reflect the multi-layered histories of place.  His research focuses on American cultural history and the application of digital technologies to history and the humanities more generally.  He has written and edited a number of books on the history of U.S. popular entertainment, including award-winning books on film history and burlesque.  His work in digital humanities includes “Going to the Show,” an online digital resource documenting the history of moviegoing in North Carolina, which was awarded the American Historical Association’s Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History in 2011.  In 2009 he received the first C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities at UNC-CH for his work to extend digital humanities projects to local communities in North Carolina. He was scholarly advisor for “Standing on a Box,” a multi-faceted public humanities project organized around Lewis Hine’s 1908 photographs of child textile workers in Gaston County.  The project was awarded the first Harlan Gradin Award for Excellence in Public Humanities in 2009.  From 2013 to 2016 he was Principal Investigator for Digital Loray.  He was Co-Principal Investigator (faculty lead) for the $5 million Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (2012-14).  From 2011 to 2016, he was Director of the University’s Digital Innovation Lab.

Courses Taught

AMST 53H: The Family & Social Change In America
AMST 715: Community History and Public Humanities
AMST 840: Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies