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Daniel L. Smail

Harvard University Affiliated Professor

Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History, Harvard University


Daniel L. Smail
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Daniel Lord Smail is Frank B. Baird, Jr. professor of history in the Department of History at Harvard University, where he works on deep human history and the history and anthropology of Mediterranean societies between 1100 and 1600. In the history of law, he is known for scholarship that draws on the rich body of court proceedings that survive from many late medieval European jurisdictions. Works in this vein include Legal Plunder: Households and Debt Collection in Late Medieval Europe (2016) and The Consumption of Justice: Emotions, Publicity, and Legal Culture in Marseille, 1264-1423 (2003). He has also worked extensively with records generated by later medieval public notaries, featured in his Imaginary Cartographies: Possession and Identity in Late Medieval Marseille (1999). He is currently working on a microhistorical study of a formerly enslaved North African woman in Marseille whose history is known to us thanks to records generated by an extensive lawsuit pitting her against her former enslaver. Smail collaborates actively with colleagues in legal history on the Harvard campus.


  • B.A. History and Philosophy University of Wisconsin, 1984
  • Ph.D. History University of Michigan, 1994