Profile: Paul Freedman


Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. His latest book is Ten Restaurants That Changed America (Liveright/Norton, 2016).

Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. This resulted in the publication of The Diocese of Vic: Tradition and Regeneration in Medieval Catalonia (1983).

Freedman taught for eighteen years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997. At Vanderbilt, he focused on the history of Catalan peasantry, papal correspondence with Catalonia and a comparative history of European seigneurial regimes. He was awarded Vanderbilt’s Nordhaus Teaching Prize in 1989 and was the Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center Fellow there in 1991-1992. During that time he published his second book, Origins of Peasant Servitude in Medieval Catalonia (1991).

Since coming to Yale, Professor Freedman has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in History, Director of the Medieval Studies Program, Chair of the History Department, and Chair of the Program in the History of Science and Medicine He has offered graduate seminars on the social history of the Middle Ages, church, society and politics, and agrarian studies (as part of a team-taught course).

Freedman was a visiting fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen in 2000 and Directeur d’Études Associé at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 1995. His third book was Images of the Medieval Peasant (1999) and there are two collections of his essays: Church, Law and Socie

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How Was French Cuisine Toppled As the King of Fine Dining?

In my recently published book, “Ten Restaurants that Changed America,” I show how one restaurant, Le Pavillon, came to epitomize the rise and fall of French cuisine.
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Category: Food

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