Ruth M Karras

Ruth Mazo Karras is Distinguished Teaching Professor 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.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

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

Curriculum Vitae


  • masculinity
  • medieval Europe
  • medieval sexuality
  • women's and gender history
  • Scandinavia
  • England
  • medieval Judaism
Courses Taught
  • Hist 5900 - Gender in Medieval Culture
  • Hist 3151W, British History to 1700
  • HIST 1002/3002, Medieval Stories and Modern Echoes
Research & Professional Activities

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


  • King David as a Figure of Masculinity in Medieval Europe:
  • Bennett, Judith M., and Ruth Mazo Karras, eds.. Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe. Oxford University Press, 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, Ed. Stephen Rigby. "The Wife of Bath." Historians on Chaucer: The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (2014): 319-333.
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo. "The Reproduction of Medieval Christianity." The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Christian Theology, ed. AdrianThatcher (2014): 271-286.
  • Telling the Truth about Sex in Late Medieval Paris: Karras, Ruth, Reading Medieval Studies, 40 65-81, 2014.
  • The Christianization of Medieval Marriage: Karras, Ruth, University of Notre Dame Press, Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages, ed. David Mengel and Lisa Wolverton, 1-24, 2014.
  • 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.
  • 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