David Gary Shaw is an historian of medieval England, of the British nations, of people as managers of meaning and identity in their inevitable social context. He has only ever been employed by Wesleyan University, where he is currently Professor of History and Medieval Studies. From 2010-13, he was the Dean of the Social Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Programs.
A graduate of McGill University in Montreal in history and philosophy (1986), he received his doctorate from Oxford University, while supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship (1990). He was a member of Balliol College. He joined the faculty of Wesleyan University in 1990 and has taught there ever since. His teaching specialties are the Middle Ages, historiography, the history of Great Britain, and the theory of history. Past teaching themes have included ways of thinking and believing, examined through the study of religion, magic, and witchcraft and some intellectual history.
His first book, The Creation of a Community. The City of Wells in the Middle Ages, was published by Oxford University Press in 1993. In 1998, he joined the journal History and Theory as an Associate Editor. He has edited themes issues of that journal on The Return of Science. Evolution, History, and Theory (1999), with Philip Pomper; Agency after Postmodernism (2001); and Religion and History (2006). He is currently at work on an issue on animals in history and historical theory, which will appear as the 2013 theme issue. In 2005 he published Necessary Conjunctions: The Social Self in Medieval England (Palgrave-Macmillan). His current research interests include the circulation of people and ideas in later medieval England and a projects on the nature of historical agency and the animals as agents of history. Horses anyone?
At Wesleyan he has served three years as chair of the History Department, and has served widely in faculty governance positions.