Sharon Farmer

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2013/2014
discipline History
Professor University of California at Santa Barbara

Research project

Medieval Paris and the Mediterranean: The Origins of the Paris Silk Industry in the Thirteenth Century


During the 2013-2014 academic year I intend to complete a monograph that will expand our understanding of Mediterranean immigration into medieval Northern France by examining the origins of the Parisian silk industry during the thirteenth century.   The first scholarly examination of the origins of the silk cloth industry of medieval Paris, this monograph will also provide the first book-length case study of the role that skilled Mediterranean artisans played in transforming the material culture of Northern France during the age of the crusades.    Its discussion of the relationship between the French court and the movement of skilled merchants and artisans will transform our understanding of royal economic policies in the middle ages.    Its discussion of women’s role in the silk industry will shed important light on gendered differences between the Northern French silk textile industry, on the one hand, and the linen and wool industries on the other.   Its discussion of the role of Jews and Jewish converts in the Parisian silk industry will transform our understanding of Jewish economic activity in Northwest Europe at this time.



Sharon Farmer is Professor in the History Department of the University of California at Santa Barbara. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.


Her current academic interests include medieval women and gender, relations between Northern France and the Mediterranean, medieval environmental history, and the history of the Bible in the medieval and early modern periods.

Selected publications


'Aristocratic Power and the 'Natural' Landscape: The Garden Park at Hesdin, ca. 1291-1302', Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, July, 2013, pp. 644-680.


‘Parisian Merchant Women and the Administrative Glass Ceiling in HIgh Medieval Paris’, in T. Earenfight (ed.), Women and Wealth in Late Medieval Europe, Palgrave, 2010, pp. 89-108.


‘Charity: A Deaf-Mute’s Story’, in M. Rubin (ed.), Medieval Christianity in Practice, Princeton University Press, 2009, pp.203-207.


‘Low Country Ascetics and Oriental Luxury: Jacques de Vitry, Marie of Oignies, and the Treasures of Oignies’, in R. Fulton and B. Holsinger (eds), History in the Comic Mode: Medieval Communities and the Matter of Person, Columbia University Press, 2007, pp. 204-222.


‘Biffes, Tiretaines, and Aumonieres: The Role of Paris in the International Textile Markets of the 13th and 14th c.’, Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol. 2, 2006, pp. 73-89.


‘The Leper in the Master Bedroom: Thinking Through a Thirteenth-Century Exemplum’, in Wolfthal and Voaden (eds), Framing the Family: Narrative and Representation in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, MRTS, 2005, pp. 79-100.


Gender and Difference in the Middle Ages, with C. Pasternack (eds), University of Minnesota Press, 2003.


Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology and the Daily Lives of the Poor, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 2002.


Communities of Saint Martin: Legend and Ritual in Medieval Tours, Cornell University Press, 1991.


junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Literature
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Visual and Performing Arts
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Anthropology