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 Professor of History . She is also a co-editor of the journal Gender & 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.


  • 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.
  • 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
  • CLA 1200, Medieval Stories and Modern Echoes
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats

Featured Faculty

  • Prof. Ruggles Chosen to Lead Population Association of America (PAA)

    Prof. Steve Ruggles has been chosen president-elect of the Population Association of America (PAA) He will be the first historian ever to lead that organization (more typically its presidents have been sociologists or economists). Steve will serve as PAA president-elect in 2014 and president in 2015.

    This honor is recognition of the great work that Steve has done both in his own research and in supporting the work of other scholars through his work with the Minnesota Population Center. Congratulations, Prof. Ruggles!

    Learn more about the Population Association of America (PAA)

    March 15th, 2014
  • Digital Research Projects by HIST 3959 Students

    In Fall 2013, HIST 3959 - How to Do History was taught by Prof. Donna Gabaccia with a focus on digital history research projects. One additional feature of HIST 3959 this fall was that six graduate students earned graduate credit by working with the undergraduate groups as "project managers."

    Here is a sample of innovative projects from class:

    The Pacific Railroad Surveyors
    Jewish Life in 1930s/40s Minneapolis
    Why Public Education?
    Rustication in the Chinese Cultural Revolution
    Early Scandinavian Cartography
    Korea, Forgotten War?
    Political Leadership and Masculinity

    December 13th, 2013
  • Major Awards for History Profs. Kevin Murphy, Barbara Welke, Donna Gabaccia (2), Kay Reyerson, Elaine Tyler May

    It has been a season for great honors and accomplishments for our faculty. Congratulations to all!

    Donna Gabaccia is one of the recipients of the 2013 University Outstanding Community Service Award
    Donna Gabaccia has been awarded the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society for Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective.
    Elaine Tyler May has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013 by The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
    Kevin Murphy is a 2013 recipient of the UofM's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.
    Kay Reyerson has been awarded the Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy.
    Barbara Welke has been named one of the new Distinguished McKnight University Professors.

    April 3rd, 2013

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