Claire Cage

Claire Cage

Department of History


  • B.A.,  Dartmouth College
  • M.A.,  Johns Hopkins University
  • Ph.D.,  Johns Hopkins University

Claire Cage is a historian of France. Her first book, Unnatural Frenchmen: The Politics of Priestly Celibacy and Marriage, 1720-1815 (University of Virginia Press, 2015), examines controversies over clerical celibacy and the advent of the marriage of priests during the French Revolution. The European History Section of the Southern Historical Association awarded it the Baker-Burton Prize for the best first book on European History published between 2013-17. Several fellowships supported the research and writing of this book, including those from the Fulbright Program, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Camargo Foundation  

Her most recent book, The Science of Proof: Forensic Medicine in Modern France  (Cambridge University Press, 2022), traces the rise of forensic medicine in modern France and examines its implications for our understanding of expert authority. This research has been funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, the K. Garth Huston Fellowship at the Huntington Library, the American Philosophical Society’s Franklin Grant, and Harvard Countway Library’s History of Medicine Fellowship.




  • The Science of Proof: Forensic Medicine in Modern France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022)
  • Unnatural Frenchmen: The Politics of Priestly Celibacy and Marriage, 1720-1815 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015)


  • "Poison, Proof, and Forensic Medicine in Nineteenth-Century France," Vesalius: Journal of the International Society for the History of Medicine 26, no. 1 (2020): 175-87.
  • “Child Sexual Abuse and Medical Expertise in Nineteenth-Century France,” French Historical Studies 42, no. 3 (2019): 391-421.
  • “Regards croisés sur le mariage à l’époque révolutionnaire et impériale,” with Jennifer Heuer, Andrea Mansker, Meghan Roberts, and Anne Verjus in Annales historiques de la Révolution française 388, no. 2 (2017): 143-71.
  • "'Celibacy is a Social Crime': The Politics of Clerical Marriage, 1794-1799,” French Historical Studies, vol. 36, no. 4 (2013): 601-28.
  • “The Sartorial Self: Neoclassical Fashion and Gender Identity in France, 1797-1804,” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 42, no. 2 (2009): 193–215.

Book Chapters

  • “Crime, Law, and Justice,” in Life in Revolutionary France, edited by Mette Harder and Jennifer Heuer, Bloomsbury Press (2020): 153-74.


  • HY 102 History of Western Civilization II
  • HY 355 The French Revolution 
  • HY 390 Crime and Punishment in Britain, 1500-1900 (study abroad)
  • HY 442 Undergraduate Research Seminar: Trials in History
  • HY 456/556 The Body, Medicine, and Society in Europe
  • HY 457/557 France and Europe in the Era of Napoleon
  • HY 457/557 Gender and Society in Early Modern Europe
  • HY 458/558 Sex, Celibacy, and Marriage in the Christian West
  • HY 590  The Making of Modern France