Deborah Valenze

Deborah Valenze

Research Interests


Fall 2020

  • European History 1500-1789 (4 credits)
    History BC1101

    Political, economic, social, religious, and intellectual history of early modern Europe, including the Renaissance, Reformation and Counter-Reformation, absolutism, Scientific Revolution, and Enlightenment.

  • London: Great Wen' to World (4 credits)
    History BC3360

    Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 15. Preregistration required. Social and cultural history of London from the Great Fire of 1666 to the 1960s. An examination of the changing experience of urban identity through the commercial life, public spaces, and diverse inhabitants of London. Topics include 17th-century rebuilding, immigrants and emigrants, suburbs, literary culture, war, and redevelopment.


Deborah Valenze, professor of history, joined the faculty of Barnard College in 1989. Before coming to Barnard, she taught at Smith College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Brandeis University. She has been a research associate at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University and, in 1997-8, she was acting director of the women's studies in religion program at Harvard Divinity School.

At Barnard, Professor Valenze has taught courses on the history of Europe since the Renaissance, Britain since 1600, women and revolution, European poverty, and food.

Her research and scholarship have been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Yale Center for British Art, the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, and the American Association of University Women. She has also received a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship.

Her most recent book, Milk: A Local and Global History, has been published by Yale University Press.


  • PhD, Brandeis University
  • BA, Harvard University
  • BA, Radcliffe College

Selected Publications


  • Milk: A Local and Global History, Yale University Press, 2011
  • The Social Life of Money in the English Past, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • The First Industrial Woman, Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Prophetic Sons and Daughters:  Female Preaching and Popular Religion in Industrial England, Princeton University Press, 1985.

Journal Articles

  • “Is Marxism Still a Useful Tool of Analysis for the History of British Women?” in Contentions:  Debates in Society, Culture, and Science, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Spring 1995); also reprinted in Debating Gender, Debating Sexuality, ed. Nikki R. Keddie, (New York University Press, 1996), pp. 181-92.
  • “The Art of Women and the Business of Men: Women's Work and the Dairy Industry, c. 1740-1840,” Past and Present 130 (February, 1991), pp. 142-69; reprinted in Mary A. Yeager, ed., Women in Business, 3 vols. (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1999). “Mutuality and Marginality:  Liberal Moral Theory and Women in Nineteenth-Century England,” (with Ruth L. Smith), Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, (Winter, 1988), pp. 277-98.
  • “Prophecy and Popular Literature in Eighteenth-century England,” Journal of Ecclesi­astical History 29 (1978), pp. 75‑92.

Contributions to Books and Other Works

  • “Gender in the Formation of European Power, 1750-1914,” in A Companion to Gender History, ed. Teresa A. Meade and Merry Wiesner- Hanks (Oxford:  Blackwell, 2004), pp.  459-476. 
  • “Dairy Farming” in Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (Oxford University Press, 2003), 2: 62-5.
  • “Custom, Charity, and Humanity:  Attitudes towards the Poor in Eighteenth-Century England,” in Revival and Religion:  Essays presented to John Walsh (Hambledon Press, 1993), pp.  59-78.
  • “Cottage Religion and the Politics of Survival,” Equal or Different?  Women's Politics in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Jane Rendall, Blackwell, 1987, pp. 31-56.
  • “Pilgrims and Progress in Nineteenth-century England,” Culture, Ideology and Politics: Essays in Honour of Eric Hobsbawm, ed. Raphael Samuel and Gareth Stedman Jones, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983, pp. 113‑26.

Selected Courses

  • A Social and Cultural History of Food in Europe
  • Britain in the Industrial Age
  • Edible Conflicts: A History of Food
  • European Women in the Age of Revolution
  • History of the Senses in England and France
  • Money, Markets and Morals in Britain, 1500-1800 (graduate colloquium)
  • Poverty and the Social Order in Europe
  • The City in Europe
  • Women, Class and Culture in European History