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Acting Assistant Dean

Dr. Kate Kelsey Staples is an associate professor in the History Department at West Virginia University. She earned her undergraduate degree in History and French from the University of Minnesota, Morris, a small public liberal arts school in western Minnesota. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in History at the University of Minnesota. 

Her research focuses on the gender, social, and cultural history of medieval Europe, investigating the ways that medieval people navigated urban spaces, markets, gender norms, and identities. In her first book, Daughters of London: Inheriting Opportunity in the Late Middle Ages, she considered inheritance patterns and practices in late medieval London that allowed for daughters of the urban middling and elite to own, rent, and manage property. 

Her current research project considers the trade in secondhand clothing and goods in late medieval England, a dynamic trade that was accessible to many due to the high cost and value of goods and the low supply of ready cash. In this research, she seeks to understand the opportunities presented by this trade for consumers, as well as the ways in which labor within this trade was gendered. 


Since 2006, Dr. Staples has taught and advised undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of History, offering courses in gender history, historical methods, world history, British history, and the history of medieval Europe. 

In 2012, she was awarded the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award and the West Virginia University Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award, and in 2016 the Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing. 

From 2014 to 2019 she served as the associate chair of the History Department. She was named Acting Assistant Dean of the Honors College in August 2019.