Sara McDougall

Sara McDougall

Associate Professor, John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center
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2009-2010 -  Gotlieb Fellow in Legal History, NYU School of Law

2009          -   PhD Yale University

2003           -  BA/MA Boston University


I am a specialist in late-medieval France with broad interests and experience in the pre-modern world - particularly in the fields of legal history and women’s history. 

I am currently investigating the consequences of adultery for kings, queens, and commoners of fifteenth-century France, seeking out the role of gender and social hierarchy in the ideas and practices of adultery in French law, society, and culture. 

I am also writing about kingship, illegitimacy, and the centrality of the canon law of marriage in the political ordering of medieval Europe. 

In 2014-2015 I was an ACLS Mellon Fellow in Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. 


Bigamy and Christian Identity in Late-Medieval Champagne (University of Pennsylvania Press, March 2012). 

“The Transformation of Adultery in France at the End of the Middle Ages” Law and History Review 32:3 (August 2014)

“The Opposite of the Double Standard: Gender, Marriage, and Adultery Prosecution in Late Medieval France” Journal of the History of Sexuality 23:2 (May 2014).  

“Women Before the Officiality of Troyes in the Fifteenth Century” in Les officialités dans l'Europe médiévale et moderne: Des tribunaux pour une société chrétienne (Brepols, 2014). 

 “The Making of Marriage in Medieval Europe” Journal of Family History 38:3 (July 2013). 

 “Women and Gender in Medieval Canon Law” in the Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe, eds. Ruth Karras and Judith Bennett. (July 2013). 

 “Bigamy: A Male Crime in Medieval Europe” Gender and History 22:2 (August 2010).

 “The Punishment of Bigamy in Late-Medieval France” Imago Temporis Acti. Medium Aevum 3 (2009). 

 “The Prosecution of Sex in Late Medieval Troyes” History of Sexuality in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Albrecht Classen (De Gruyter: 2008).

Forthcoming Publications:

with Charles Donahue, Jr. “France and Adjoining Areas” in History of Courts and Procedure in Medieval Canon Law eds. Kenneth Pennington and Wilfried Hartmann, Catholic University Press (under contract, expected publication 2015).

“Enclosure as Punishment for Adultery,” in Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Toronto 3-9August 2012, ed. Joseph Goering, Monumenta Iuris Canonici, Series C: Subsidia (expected publication 2015).

“Fiction and Lies: Adultery and Spousal Homicide Accusations in Fifteenth Century France" in Imagining Early Modern Histories eds. Elizabeth Ketner and Allison Kavey (under contract with Ashgate, expected publication 2016).

“À la recherche des enfants illégitimes dans la documentation de l’officialité de Troyes au XVe siècle” in Filiation illégitime: Histoire, droit, littérature. Ed. Carole Avignon, Presses universitaires de Rennes (forthcoming). 

Editorial Projects: 

Co-editor, with John Witte and Anna di Robilant, Texts and Contexts in Legal History: Essays in Honor of Charles Donahue, Robbins Collection UC Berkeley (forthcoming, 2016).

Co-Editor, with Sarah Pearsall, Gender & History Special Issue: Marriage's Global Past (forthcoming, 2017).

General Co-Editor, with Clive Emsley, A Cultural History of Crime, 6 volumes. Bloomsbury Press (forthcoming, 2018).

Co-Editor, with Thomas Barton, Susan McDonough, and Matthew Wranovix, Boundaries in the Medieval and Wider World. Festschrift in Honor of Paul Freedman (under consideration, Brepols).  


Medieval European legal history, History of Crime, History of the Family, Religious and Cultural History, Global History.