Valerie L. Garver

Current Research

My research seeks to answer related questions concerning the history of women, gender, childhood, and family and the historical and interdisciplinary study of material culture. My published work has mainly focused on the Carolingian world writ large, but as a broadly trained early medievalist, I remain engaged in the study of much of northwest Europe in the Early Middle Ages and am committed to understanding that region in broader temporal and geographic contexts. I am currently finishing a book titled "Textiles, Clothing, and Society in the Carolingian World," which examines a crucial form of material culture in order to reassess Carolingian society. A nascent book project on early medieval childhood that draws from both material and textual sources is also underway. This study will investigate children and ideas concerning children through the methodological lenses of gender studies andmaterial culture studies. In addition, I serve as an editor for the journal Medieval Prosopography. My research has been supported by membership in the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; a Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship; a Solmsen Postdoctoral Fellowship; the Fulbright Program; a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society; and a Research Project Grant from the Pasold Research Fund.

Major Publications


Articles/Book Chapters

Teaching Interests

In addition to teaching History of the Western World, I offer a variety of classes about the Middle Ages at the undergraduate level. My specific teaching interests include the Carolingian world, the social history of the European Middle Ages and the history of women, gender, childhood and family. In addition to teaching history classes, I regularly teach two interdisciplinary courses in medieval studies. I have also offered courses on Knights and Samurai with Professor Taylor Atkins, and on medieval history as depicted in the HBO show Game of Thrones, which received a lot of media attention in 2015.  At the graduate level, my teaching interests focus upon western Europe in the early Middle Ages; women and gender; childhood; the history of Christianity; and the historical use of material culture.

Courses Taught

  • HIST 110 History of the Western World !: Problems in the Human Past
  • IDSP 225 Introduction to Medieval Society and Culture
  • HIST 305 Europe in the Early Middle Ages
  • HIST 306 Europe in the Later Middle Ages
  • HIST 319 Early Islamic World
  • HIST 407/507 Medieval Women
  • HIST 408/508 Medieval Everyday Life
  • IDSP 425 Seminar in Medieval Studies
  • HIST 490B/590B Knights and Samurai
  • HIST 490B Game of Thrones, Television, and Medieval History
  • HIST 630A/B, 640 A/B History of Childhood in the West
  • HIST 630A/B Material Culture in Ancient and Medieval History
  • HIST 710-770 Research Seminar on Material Culture and History

Interdisciplinary Affiliations


Sean Farrell

Valerie L. Garver

Chair and Professor

Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2003

Medieval Europe

Zulauf 713

Office hours: MW 10:30-11:30 AM & by appointment