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


Sara McDougall is an associate professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York (CUNY) and a member of the doctoral faculty in French and History at the CUNY Graduate Center. She specializes in medieval French history, but has broad interests in the pre-modern world, particularly in the fields of legal history, family history, and women’s history. She is the author of Bigamy and Christian Identity in Late Medieval Champagne (UPenn, 2012), and Royal Bastards: The Birth of Illegitimacy, 800-1230 (OUP, 2017). She was an Advanced Research Collaborative Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center in the Spring of 2017 and a Mellon Fellow in Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in 2014-2015. 


Professor McDougall's recent interview on WNPR's Colin McEnroe show:


A review of Professor McDougall's Royal Bastards in the Times Literary Supplement:

<a href=""">Sara">">Sara McDougall on ResearchGate</a>








Royal Bastards: the birth of illegitimacy, 800-1230 (Oxford University Press, Oxford Studies in Medieval European History, January 2017).

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

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

Co-Editor with Thomas Barton, Susan McDonough, and Matthew Wranovix, Boundaries in the Medieval and Wider World. Festschrift in Honour of Paul Freedman, Europa Sacra 22 (Brepols, 2017).  

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 (October 2016).

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

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, November 2016).

“Enclosure as Punishment for Adultery,” in Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Toronto 3-9 August 2012, eds. Joseph Goering, Stephan Dusil, and Andreas Thier, Monumenta Iuris Canonici, Series C: Subsidia (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2016).

“À la recherche des enfants illégitimes dans les archives de l’officialité de Troyes au xve siècle. Un exemple atypique?” in Bâtards et bâtardises dans l’Europe médiévale et moderne, ed. Carole Avignon (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2016).

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

“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).




Current projects include a study of illicit pregnancy in Northern France, an investigation of adultery and its consequences across gender and hierarchical divides in fifteenth century France, illegitimate children in 13-15th century France, and the ordination of men of illegitimate birth as priests in medieval Europe. 


Medieval European legal history, history of illegitimacy, family history, social history.

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