Associate Professor of History; Affiliated Faculty
B.S., Liberty University
J.D., Samford University, Cumberland School of Law
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
Karl Shoemaker earned a B.S. in Business from Liberty University and, after a brief stint playing professional baseball in Italy, earned a J.D. degree from Samford University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation, Medieval Sanctuary Law: Changing Conceptions of Law, Crime and Punishment, examines the right of sanctuary for crime across the major legal traditions of medieval Europe.
Professor Shoemaker is an interdisciplinary legal scholar whose research focuses on medieval legal history. He also has a strong interest in historical and philosophical developments in criminal law and punishment. He teaches courses in medieval legal history, medieval history generally, and the history of punishment. He also teaches an undergraduate criminal justice course.
In 2000, Professor Shoemaker was the recipient of the North American Conference on British Studies Dissertation Travel Fellowship which he used for six months of manuscript research in legal records of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century English royal courts. He was also a member of the Institute for Historical Research in London. In spring 2001, he was a Research Fellow at Berkeley's Robbins Civil and Religious Law Library. He has regularly participated in legal history research projects and conferences sponsored by the Max-Planck-Insituts für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Istituto di storia del diritto italiano, and the Conseil de la Région Languedoc-Roussilon. He has published articles in journals such as Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte and the Cumberland Law Review, among others, as well as a chapter in Pain, Death, and the Law (University of Michigan Press, 2001). One of his recent articles examined the development of medieval criminal procedure after the abolition of the divine ordeal. He has also served as an associate editor of the California Supreme Court Historical Society Journal.
Professor Shoemaker also holds an appointment in the History Department, teaches in the Legal Studies major, and has affiliate appointments in Religious Studies and Medieval Studies.