Faculty and Staff


Ada-Maria Kuskowski

Assistant Professor
Medieval Europe

Dallas Hall Room 58-C


Ph.D., History, Cornell University (Conferred May 26, 2013). 
M.A., History, Cornell University (2008). 
B.C.L. and L.L.B. (Bachelor of Common Law and Bachelor of Civil Law), McGill University Faculty of Law (2005). 
B.A., History, McGill University, (2001). 

Academic Positions

Assistant Professor, Jeremy duQuesnay Adams Centennial Professorship in Western European Medieval History, Southern Methodist University (2013—)
Postdoctoral Fellow in Law and Society, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School (2012-2013)
Golieb Fellow in Legal History, New York University Law School (2011-2012).
Visiting Scholar, Quebec Research Centre of Private and Comparative Law, McGill University Faculty of Law (Fall 2010).

Fellowships and Grants

Mellon Summer Institute Grant: Newberry Library (July 2012).
Golieb Fellowship: New York University (2011-12).
Wainwright Fund Research Grant: McGill University (2010-11).
Theodor Mommsen Fellowship: Cornell University (Autumn 2009, Spring 2010).
Mario Einaudi International Research Grant (Summer 2009).
Michele Sicca Pre-Dissertation Research Grant (Summer 2009).
Sage Fellowship, Cornell University (2005-6).


“Inventing Legal Space: From Regional Custom to Common Law in the Coutumiers of Medieval France” in Medieval Constructions of Space: Practice, Place, and Territory from the 9th to the 15th Century, edited by Meredith Cohen and Fanny Madeleine (Ashgate) [forthcoming].

“The Nomopheliac’s Guide to Comparative Law: Written Custom in Medieval England and in France” in Law, Justice, and Governance, New Views on Medieval English Constitutionalism, ed. by Richard Kaeuper (Brill, 2013).

“The Poor, The Secular Courts, and Access to Justice in Thirteenth Century France” in Poverty and Prosperity in the Middle Ages, edited by Cynthia Kosso and Anne Scott (Brepols, 2012).

Areas of Interest

Medieval History, European History, Medieval France, Social Histories of Knowledge, History of the Book, Court Culture, Legal History and Culture, Law and the Humanities, the Crusading Movement, Exploration, Travel and Cross-Cultural Contact.


“Writing Custom: Juristic Imagination and the Composition of Customary Law in Thirteenth-Century France”

This project presents a cultural history of legal knowledge. It examines the first move to set a previously oral custom into writing in Northern France during the thirteenth century. This was a revolutionary moment when law moved from small communities literate in Latin and spread amongst lay jurists who thought and wrote in the vernacular, the language in which law was actually lived and performed. Written custom was a creative practice, not formalistic as is commonly assumed. This combination of the new technology of writing with the social choice of the vernacular permitted previously oral and performed law to be theorized and captured in text which, in turn, permitted previously local experiences to be shared and transmitted though the circulation of texts. By imagining a literature devoted to custom the lay jurists who started writing custom created the content and contours of a new intellectual discipline: they separated custom from general community practice and created customary law.

Last updated 09/13