Katharina Isabel Schmidt

Graduate Associate

Katharina is a first-year student in transnational legal and intellectual history at the Princeton History Department. She is particularly interested in late nineteenth and early twentieth century alternative jurisprudence in Germany and the United States.

By focusing on how jurists on both sides of the Atlantic relied on foreign concepts and ideas to construct their scholarly identities, she hopes to provide a better understanding of persistent transatlantic divergences in legal thought. Through a reconstruction of German and American alternative jurisprudence as law-specific expressions of more general trends in transatlantic thought she also seeks a closer alignment of legal and intellectual history.

Katharina’s other interests include transnational social theory and intellectual history as well as German-American history more generally. In particular, she is interested in late nineteenth and early twentieth century German émigré intellectuals in the United States and in transatlantic progressivist movements.

Before coming to Princeton, Katharina obtained law degrees at University College London (LL.B ’10), the University of Cologne (Baccalaureus Legum ’10), the University of Oxford (BCL ’11), and the Yale Law School (LL.M ’13). She is concurrently pursuing a JSD at the Yale Law School.

Katharina has presented her work at various conferences on both sides of the Atlantic. Her publications include: “Henry Maine’s ‘Modern Law’: From Status to Contract and Back Again?,” American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming, 2016);  “Law, Modernity, Crisis: German Free Lawyers, American Legal Realists and the Transatlantic Turn to ‘Life,’ 1903-1933,German Studies Review 39 (2016): 121; Review Essay: Darin M. McMahon & Samuel Moyn (eds.), Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History, Comparative Legal History 3 (2015): 196; Review: James Gordley, The Jurists—A Critical History, Law & History Review 33  (2015): 467; Der ‘Formalismus-Mythos’ im deutschen und amerikanischen Rechtsdenken des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, Der Staat 53 (2014): 445;

For her work, Katharina was awarded the 2015 Graduate Student Paper Prize of the German Studies Association as well as the 2015 Colin B. Picker Graduate Student Paper Prize of the American Society for Comparative Law. She is the Mellon Visiting Fellow 2015-2016 at the Joint Center for History and Economics at Harvard University and Cambridge University.