Susan Karr

Associate Research Scholar

LAPA Fellow, 2010-2011

LAPA Fellow

 412 Robertson Hall

 Curriculum Vitae



Susan Karr is an associate member of the University of Chicago Human Rights Program and an Affiliate of the European University Institute, where she served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Max Weber Program and the Department of History and Civilization in 2008-2009. She received her Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from the University of Chicago (2008). Broadly trained as an Early Modernist, her research focuses on the intersection of humanism and political thought in sixteenth-century Italy, Germany, France, and England. Integrating social, political, legal, and intellectual history, Karr’s research explores how the introduction of philological, comparative, and historical methods to the teaching and interpretation of Roman law informed the centrality of ius gentium (universal customary law or the laws of peoples) within natural law and natural rights theories from the sixteenth century onwards. By focusing on lectures, treatises, orations and emblems, her research demonstrates how humanist jurists used the category of ius gentium—which they held was the source of the rights of individuals—to hold civil laws, and those who administered them, accountable to a higher criterion of justice. While at Princeton, she will continue to work on her manuscript, entitled, "On Justice and Right: The Moral Authority of Jus Gentium," which will explore the influence the sixteenth-century legal humanism on the so-called fathers of international law: Alberico Gentili (1552-1608) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). She will be the Mellon/LAPA Fellow in Law and the Humanities.