Elizabeth Papp Kamali ’07 to join Harvard Law faculty

Elizabeth Papp Kamali

Credit: Jens Zorn

Elizabeth Papp Kamali ’07, a scholar specializing in medieval legal history, will join the Harvard Law School faculty as an assistant professor in July. Kamali is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan, where she is completing her dissertation, “A Felonious State of Mind: Mens Rea in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century England.”

“With deep expertise and imagination, Liz explores profound questions about what is and should be a crime through examining medieval laws and culture, with important implications for contemporary legal issues,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School. “Already a significant contributor to scholarship in legal history, Liz first developed her interests as a Harvard undergraduate and pursued the work with rigor through her time as a truly impressive Harvard Law School student and more recently in prize-winning work for the Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.  I’m thrilled to welcome her back to Cambridge as a member of the faculty, and I’m excited for students to experience her exceptional teaching and her collegiality.”

In addition to medieval legal history, Kamali’s research and teaching interests include criminal law, English legal history, local government law, and Roman law. Her article “Felonia felonice facta: Felony and Intentionality in Medieval England,” was recently published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Philosophy. Working papers and works in progress analyze: the complicated role anger played in medieval English felony trials; the modern dual sovereignty doctrine and the historical origins of double jeopardy; and the conflict between local customary law and the English common law in fourteenth-century London.

“I began my study of medieval law during my undergraduate years at Harvard, where I had the privilege of working with fourteenth-century manor court rolls from Harvard Law School’s collection for my senior thesis project,” said Kamali. “I am thrilled and honored to return to Cambridge this fall, where I look forward to building connections with other criminal law scholars, historians, and the medieval studies community more broadly. Harvard Law School’s faculty, students, and special collections resources will all enrich my future scholarship, and I am eager to contribute to the fabric of law school life in the classroom and beyond.”

Kamali graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 2007. She expects to be awarded her Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan this year. In 2013, she was awarded the Kathryn T. Preyer Award for best paper by an early career scholar by the American Society for Legal History. She was also awarded the Medieval Academy of America Graduate Student Prize for best graduate student paper. In 1997, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received the Colton Award for excellence in preparation of a senior thesis in History.