Susan Longfield Karr , PHD
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History
Above all, my teaching and research focus on state- and empire-state formation and the emergence of the so-called modern rule of law within communities (constitutions) and between them (international law) from about the 15th century to the present. In addition to offering courses on the European Renaissance, Early Modern France, and Britain, I also teach a variety of courses that explore the history and development of rights—natural, civil, and human—as a history of violence, subjection, and unfreedom, rather than as a history of inclusion, harmony, and liberty. In short, instead of approaching the history of rights as a history of progress, I explore it as a history of exclusion. In so doing, I pay particular attention to the meaning and significance of words within cultural, political, and legal frameworks. For example, my current research project focuses on how languages of toleration, which we tend to equate with acceptance, were used by Anglo- and Dutch-Protestant political theorists to justify empire abroad and construct gradations of citizenship at home.
Ph.D.: University of Chicago (Early Modern Europe; Political and Legal Thought)
M.A.: University of Chicago (Early Modern Europe; Political and Legal Thought)
B.A. : University of Kanas (European Intellectual History)
Research and teaching areas include:
- The history and development of Rights (Natural, Civic, & Human).
- The history and development of International law.
- The History of European legal traditions, jurisprudence, and criminal punishment.
- The history of political and legal thought (ancient, medieval, and modern).
- European Renaissance
- Early Modern Europe
- Assistant Professor (TT); Director of Undergraduate Studies History, University of Cincinnati,
- Assistant Professor, Educator; Director of Undergraduate Advising History,
- Lecturer, Department of Justice, Law and Society. American University,
- Senior Lecturer/Course Developer. College of Graduate and Continuing Studies, Norwich University,
- Mellon Fellow in Law and Humanities/Associate Research Scholar. Program in Law and Public Affairs. Princeton University.,
- Assistant Lecturer, University Center for Humane Values. Princeton University.,
- Lecturer, Graham School of General Studies. University of Chicago. ,
- Max Weber Postdoctoral Research Fellow. European University Institute,
“Redefining Jus to Restore Justice: The Centrality of Jus Gentium in Humanist Jurisprudence,” in Reassessing Legal Humanism and its Claims: Petere Fontes? Paul du Plessis and John W Cairns, editors. (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2015).
“ ‘The Law of Nations is Common to All Mankind’: Jus Gentium in
Humanist Jurisprudence,” in Morality and Responsibility of Rulers:
European and Chinese Origins of a Rule of Law as Justice for World
Order edited by Janne Nijman and Anthony Carty (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2018). doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780199670055.003.0003
Jus Gentium in Humanist Jurisprudence, (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2022).
This book explores how the fathers of humanist jurisprudence contributed to the emergence of ius gentium as the common law not simply of Europe, but of all mankind, in the early sixteenth century. They did so by so thoroughly reinterpreting terms, idioms, and categories preserved within Justinian’s Digest that they fundamentally transformed them to address sources and limits of political and legal authority in the broader context of early-modern state formation. In the process, they offered theories of universal jurisprudence grounded in the attributes and actions of man and states that anticipated some of the most salient features of modern sovereignty and rights. Theories that we tend to identify with post-Reformation political and legal thought, rather than the early Renaissance.
HIST 1003: World History to 1450
HIST 1018: The US Constitution in Historical Perspective (New Course)
HIST 2006: History of France 1450-1789
HIST 2090: Pirates, Brigands, and Tyrants: The Rule of Law Under Siege
HIST 2100: History of Western Legal Traditions
HIST 2110: History Out There: Careers for History Majors
HIST 3000: Introduction to Historical Thought and Methods
HIST 3042: Rulers Rebels & Rights: Early Modern Britain 1485-1689
HIST 3056: European Renaissance: Power, Politics, & Persuasion
HIST 3102: Great Trials in History
HIST 4002: From Natural Law to Human Rights? History of the Western Natural Law and Natural Rights Traditions Up to the French Revolution
HIST 4003: Science Technology, & the Humanities
HIST 4115: Human Rights in History
HIST 5000: History Research Seminar
HIST 7031: European History Graduate Seminar
HIST 7060: Graduate Methods Seminar
HIST 8025: Graduate Readings in Human Rights
HIST 8045: Graduate Readings in European Renaissance
HIST 8073: Graduate Teaching Practicum