University of Minnesota
Department of History

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Ruth M Karras

History Department Room 1110 HellerH 7062A 271 19th Ave S


Ruth Mazo Karras is Chair of the Department of History. She is the author of five books and numerous articles on various aspects of medieval social and cultural history, gender, and sexuality. Her current research concerns masculinity in medieval Western Europe in both Christian and Jewish society.


  • masculinity
  • medieval Europe
  • medieval sexuality
  • women's and gender history
  • Scandinavia
  • England
  • medieval Judaism

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: History, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1985.
  • M.Phil.: European Archaeology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, 1981.


  • Bennett, Judith M., and Ruth Mazo Karras, eds.. Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe. Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. Unmarriages: Women, Men, and Sexual Unions in Medieval Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing Unto Others. Routledge, 2005, 2d ed. 2012.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo, Joel Kaye, and E. Ann Matter, eds. Law and the Illicit in Medieval Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Later Medieval Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England. Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • The Aerial Battle in the Toledot Yeshu and Sodomy in the Late Middle Ages: Karras, Ruth, Medieval Encounters, 19 499-533, 2013.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. "Marriage: Medieval Couples and the Uses of Tradition ." Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice (2012): 54-65.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. "The Regulation of Sexuality in the Late Middle Ages: England and France." Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies 86 (2011): 1010-1039.
  • Vann Sprecher, Tiffany, and Ruth Mazo Karras. "The Midwife and the Church: Ecclesiastical Regulation of Midwives in Brie, 1499-1504.." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 85 (2011): 171-192.
  • Bradley, Cameron, and Ruth Mazo Karras. "Masculine Sexuality and a Double Standard in Early Thirteenth-Century Flanders?“ ." Leidschrift 25 (2010): 63-77.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. "Thomas Aquinas's Chastity Belt: Clerical Masculinity in Medieval Europe." Gender & Christianity in Medieval Europe: New Perspectives (2008): 52-67.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. ""Marriage, Concubinage, and the Law"." Law and the Illicit in Medieval Europe (2008): 117-129.

Research Activities

  • King David as a Figure of Masculinity in Medieval Europe

Professional Activities

  • General Editor of the Middle Ages Series: University of Pennsylvania Press
  • President, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians: 2005 - 2008
  • American Historical Association, Committee on Committees: 2006 - 2009
  • Go-Editor, Gender & History: 2008-2013


  • Joan Kelly Prize for Best Book in Women's History, American Historical Association, 2012
  • Fellowship, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2012 - 2013
  • ACLS Fellowship, 2010 - 2011
  • CLA Dean's Medal, 2010
  • Graduate-Professional Teaching Award, 2010
  • Outstanding Woman Scholar Award, 2008
  • American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship, 2004 - 2005
  • Scholar of the College, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2003 - 2006
  • Fellow, Medieval Academy of America, 2009

Courses Taught

  • Hist 5900 - Gender in Medieval Culture
  • Hist 3151W, British History to 1700
  • HIST 1002/3002, Medieval Stories and Modern Echoes
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats

Featured Faculty

  • Isaacmans Receive Top Honors for "Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development"

    Congratulations to Professor Allen and Barbara Isaacman! Their book "Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development: Cahora Bassa and Its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965-2007" has recently been honored with two major book awards: ASA's Melville Herskovits Award, and AHA's Martin A. Klein Prize.

    December 5th, 2014
  • American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award to Jean O'Brien

    Professor Jeani O'Brien (history and American Indian studies) has been awarded the American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 by the Western History Association.

    December 4th, 2014
  • Jean O'Brien, 2014 Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award

    Jean O'Brien has been awarded this year's Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award. Jean O'Brien joins Erika Lee (2012) as the second historian to receive Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award. Congratulations, Jeani!

    August 31st, 2014

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