Robert Turpin
  • Robert Turpin
  • Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities, Assistant Director of the Honors Program, Associate Professor of History, Faculty Athletic Representative

  • Email:
  • Phone: 828.898.8794
  • Office: McRae House, Room 2
  • Department: Academics


PhD, University of Kentucky
MA, University of Kentucky
BA, University of Kentucky

Common Courses Taught

World Civilizations
Appalachian History
African American History
Sport History
Gender and Sexuality
World War II
Modern Europe
Bicycle History

Scholarly and Professional Achievements

First Taste of Freedom: A Cultural History of Bicycle Marketing in the United States (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2018).

I was recently awarded a fellowship from the Appalachian Colleges Association to allow me to spend the 2020-21 academic year working on a second book about black cyclists in the United States from 1880-Present.

I am interested in social and cultural history with a focus on issues of gender and race.

Institutional Service and Responsibilities

 Aside from serving as Associate Professor of History, I am also the Assistant Director of Honors at Lees-McRae. I have chaired the Faculty Senate in the past and serve on the Faculty Welfare Committee, and have been active with the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. 

Personal Interests

I grew up near the foothills of Appalachia in Kentucky. After moving to attend college at U.K., I became heavily involved in skateboarding and the local punk/indie/hardcore music scene in Lexington, KY. I then moved to Louisville for law school and became an avid cyclist. When I'm not playing with my two daughters, I still like to ride as much as I can. I have switched gears from the punk music scene to serving on the Executive Committee of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. I gravitate toward contemporary classical and experimental pieces.