Deborah Valenze

Deborah Valenze

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History




814 Milstein Center / Office Hours: M 3-4, W 11-12


Deborah Valenze, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, specializes in the cultural history of Britain and Europe from 1600 to 1830. Focusing on questions related to economic life, she has written on money and the commodification of people, gender and work, and women and religion. Her research on eighteenth-century women and the dairy led to a larger study, Milk: A Local and Global History (Yale University Press, 2011) and a lengthy involvement in food history. She is currently the President of the North American Conference on British Studies. 

Professor Valenze teaches courses on the history of Europe since the Renaissance, Britain since 1600, the cultural history of food in Europe, and the history of the senses in the European Enlightenment.

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, The Invention of Scarcity: Malthus and the Margins of History, will be published by Yale University Press in June, 2023.

  • B.A., Radcliffe College, Harvard University
  • Ph.D., Brandeis University

Social and cultural history of Britain from 1600 to 1800; European cultural history from the Renaissance to 1789; history of the senses and aesthetics; history of economic ideas.

  • "Social and Cultural History of Food in Europe"
  • “European Women in the Age of Revolution”
  • “History of the Senses in England and France”
  • “Intro to European History: Renaissance to French Revolution”
  • “London: From ‘Great Wen’ to World City”
  • “Money, Markets and Morals in Britain, 1500-1800” (graduate colloquium)
  • “Poverty and the Social Order in Europe”
  • “The City in Europe”

  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 2011-12
  • Barnard Faculty Research Grant, March, 2004
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, January – June, 2002
  • Fellow, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, February, 2002; also named
  • American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Fellow for 2001- 2002 at the YCBA
  • Fellow, Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, Harvard University, 1998-1999
  • Honorable Mention, North American Conference on British Studies/British Council Book Award, 1996
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1991-92
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1991-92
  • Research Associate, Center for European Studies, Harvard University, 1984-90
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1984-85
  • American Association of University Women Fellow­ship, 1980-81
  • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to London, England, 1978-79


The Invention of Scarcity: Malthus and the Margins of History, Yale University Press, 2023.

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.

"The Tortoise and the Hare: The Natural World of Thomas Robert Malthus," in Malthus: An Essay on the Principle of Population (Yale University Press, 2018) ed. by Shannon C. Stimson. [Rethinking the Western Tradition Series; editor's introduction and five interpretive essays by interdisciplinary scholars.]

"Persistence: The Nature of Milk History," Foreword in Milk and Dairy Foods: Their Functionality in Human Health and Disease, ed. Ian Givens (Elsevier Publishers, 2020).

"Cheese Factor," Oxford Companion to Cheese, ed. Catherine Donnelly (Oxford University Press, 2016) [Winner of the James Beard Award, 2017].

"Dairy Industry" and "Raw Milk in Food Issues, ed. Ken Albala, Sage Reference, April, 2015.

"E.P. Thompson and the Curricular Turn," Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Fall, 2013.

"The Cultural History of Food," in Routledge Handbook of the History of Food, ed. Ken Albala (Routledge, 2013).

"Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley" and "Annie Besant" in Encyclopedia of Women in World History, (Oxford University Press, 2007).

"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), 459-476.

"Dairy Farming" in Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (Oxford University Press, 2003), 2: 62-5.

“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.

“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.

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