Professor Sara McDougall Receives Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship at Princeton

March 28, 2014 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Professor Sara McDougall Professor Sara McDougall in the Department of History has received a Mellon Fellowship at the School for Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University for the 2014-2015 academic year. Throughout her fellowship she will conduct research and write her second book that will explore the consequences of committing adultery in medieval France among men, women, kings, queens, and commoners. McDougall’s first book published in 2012, Bigamy and Christian Identity in Late Medieval Champagne,explored the earliest known bigamy prosecutions.

The Institute for Advanced Studies has a long distinguished history since the 1930s as an institute devoted solely to research and intellectual inquiry in math, science, historical studies and social science and whose roster of  alumni include giants such as Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer.

“This is a tremendous honor. It is extremely competitive. It is not field specific so their applicants can be anyone working on anything historical. I am completely thrilled. I can’t wait to begin,” said McDougall.

Her book will investigate the consequences of adultery, in and out of court, and also ideas and practices of adultery in the various communities of French society, gender differences, as well as differences in social hierarchy, and attitudes towards adultery among clergy, among secular judges, and in popular culture. McDougall said that understanding adultery will aid in understanding of culturally accepted ideas about marriage and gender, about the roles of men and women, in this formative period of western history.

“The book I am working on now will look how people committed adultery and how people responded to adultery in different social spheres and whether consequences for adultery varied if a person was a man or a woman.”

“One of my main interests is women criminals, but one of the tricky things about women criminals is that in the Middle Ages just as any other time and place in history that has been studied, women criminals are minorities. Even now, there are many more men in prison than women and this has always been true, which is interesting,”

McDougall’s research interests include, history of criminal justice and criminal punishment, family law and family history, legal, gender, cultural, religious, and social history.

In addition to the Mellon Fellowship, she has received the PSC-CUNY Research Grant, the

Golieb Fellowship in Legal History at New York University School of Law, the Beinecke Rare Book Library Graduate Research Fellowship, Recipient of the Bourse Chateaubriand, France, 2006-2007, and the Bourse d’Accueil and Pensionnaire Etrangère, École Normale Supérieure, Paris.