Kristin Olbertson




Associate Professor, Pre-Law Program Coordinator


History and American Studies

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., History, University of Michigan (2005)
  • J.D., University of Michigan School of Law (2000)
  • B.A., History, Carleton College (1994)


Associate Professor

My career at Alma began in


I'm an expert in

U.S. legal & Constitutional history, colonial American history

My expertise:

U.S. history through the Reconstruction era; U.S. legal, Constitutional, and women’s history

Signature course(s):

Constitutional History, Approaches to Michigan History

Recent publications:

The Dreadful Word: Criminal Speech and Polite Gentlemen in Massachusetts, 1690-1776 (March 2022), Cambridge University Press.

“Religion and Rights in 19th-Century American Law.” American Journal of Legal History Vol. 20. Issue 1 (2013)

“‘She Steadfastly Accused Him in the Time of Her Travail’: Women’s Words and Paternity Suits in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts.” Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender Vol. 19, Issue 1 (Fall 2012).

Recent presentations:

“Alleging Fear: The Proof & Politics of Marital Violence Cases in 18th-Century New England,” at the American Historical Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 2023.

“Summoned to Speak: Women’s Testimony in 18th-Century Massachusetts Courts,” at Gendering News in the Early Modern World Conference, Durham University, August 2022.

“Bodies of Evidence: Women’s Words and Women’s Bodies in 18th-Century New England,” at the American Society for Legal History Conference, November 2021.

Other recent accomplishments:

Fellow at the Bright Institute, Knox College, 2022-2024.

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