Karl Shoemaker

Karl Shoemaker
Associate Professor
330 North Orchard Street
Madison WI 53715

Years at WID

2015 - present


Karl Shoemaker was born in Alabama and grew up in Florida. He occasionally wonders how he ended up in Wisconsin. He tried his hand at playing baseball and practicing law before coming to UW-Madison. He still says this is the most rewarding job he ever had.


  • B.S., Liberty University
  • J.D., Samford University, Cumberland School of Law
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Research Description

Karl Shoemaker is a medieval legal historian, working especially on the development of laws for sanctuary and asylum, as well as on the historical development of criminal law.


  • American Historical Association
  • American Society for Legal History
  • Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities


  • Romnes Faculty Fellow
  • John Nicholas Brown Book Prize

Selected Publications

  • Sanctuary and Crime in the Middle Ages, 400-1500. (Fordham University Press, 2011).
  • Who Deserves to Die?: Constructing the Executable Subject (co-edited with Austin Sarat) (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011).
  • “World War I, Self-Determination, and the Legacies of Medieval Jurisprudence,” in Journal of International Crimes and History (2015) pp. 1-18.
  • “Regarding Untimeliness: Medieval Legal History and Modern Law,” Critical Analysis of Law: An International and Interdisciplinary Law Review 2 (2015) pp. 199-213.
  • “‘I have Asked for Nothing Except the Ius Commune:’ Legal Change in Thirteenth-Century France,” in Jews and Christians in Thirteenth-Century France, eds. Judah Galinsky and Elishiva Baumgarten (Palgrave: 2015), pp. 65-76.
  • “The King’s Two Bodies as Lamentation,” Journal of Law Culture and Humanities (forthcoming 2014), pp. 1-15.