Natalie Zemon Davis

Natalie Zemon Davis is an enormously innovative and influential historian whose pioneering work has challenged conventional notions of historical inquiry and disciplinary boundaries. She is now Adjunct Professor of History and Anthropology and Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, as well as Professor Emerita at Princeton. Her early work examined questions of culture, class and gender in early modern France, and many of her essays became classics in the historical study of gender. Her most famous work is the microhistory The Return of Martin Guerre, which used the extraordinary story of an imposter in a sixteenth-century Pyrénées village to interrogate themes of personal identity, religion and property. She has specialized in using unusual archival sources, linking her work to literary theory and emphasizing the importance of narrative in historical writing. Polity has published a classic collection of her essays, Society and Culture in Early Modern France.