Catherine Evans

Assistant Professor; Undergraduate Coordinator


Department of History

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Nineteenth-century British empire
  • Histories of forensic science and medicine
  • Law & society
  • Colonialism and colonial governance


Professor Evans' research focuses on the history of criminal law in the British empire. She is the author of Unsound Empire: Civilization and Madness in Late-Victorian Law (Yale University Press, 2021), a history of criminal responsibility, governance, and colonial liberalism told through homicide cases from across the British world. Her new book project, provisionally titled Where There Is Smoke: Law and Fire in the British Empire, considers the cultural and political dimensions of legal approaches to fire investigation and control in the empire from 1830 to 1914. 

Courses Taught

  • CRI215: Introduction to Sociolegal Studies
  • CRI345: History of Criminal Justice
  • CRI365: Crime & Mind
  • CRI2140: Guilt, Responsibility and Forensics

Selected Publications

  • Evans, Catherine L. “James Fitzjames Stephen, Digest of Criminal Law (1877).” In Leading Works in Criminal Law, edited by Chloë Kennedy and Lindsay Farmer. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2024.
  • Evans, Catherine L., and Philip Girard. “Law and Empire, 1500–1812.” In The Cambridge History of America and the World: Volume 1: 1500–1820, edited by Carla Gardina Pestana, Eliga Gould, and Paul Mapp, 1:274–94. The Cambridge History of America and the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
  • Evans, Catherine L. Unsound Empire: Civilization and Madness in Late-Victorian Law. Yale University Press, 2021.
  • Evans, Catherine L. “Wondrous Depths: Judging the Mind in Nineteenth-Century America.” Law & Social Inquiry 44, no. 3 (2019): 828–49.
  • Evans, Catherine L. “Heart of Ice: Indigenous Defendants and Colonial Law in the Canadian North-West.” Law and History Review 36, no. 2 (2018): 199–234.
  • Evans, Catherine L. “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure: Criminal Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Britain." History Compass 14 (October 2016): 470-79.


BA (History), McGill University
BA (Jurisprudence), University College, University of Oxford
PhD (History), Princeton University