I am Admissions Director at Sidney Sussex, with responsibility for the College's undergraduate admissions, outreach, and student recruitment.

I am always happy to help with questions around applying to the University of Cambridge, and to Sidney Sussex in particular. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or any other member of our Admissions Office team.

My academic research in historical geography deals with processes of family and household formation in Europe. My doctoral thesis examined illegitimate fertility in the Gurk Valley in Austria, between c. 1868 and 1945. I am especially interested in the spaces around marriage and non-marriage, and the ways in which demographic behaviour - and its classification by demographers - can be understood by careful attention to microhistory and microgeography.

I am Director of Studies in Geography at Sidney for students in all three years, and I supervise across several topics in human geography. In the current academic year, I will be lecturing in historical geography and in research methods in the Department of Geography.

Publications, Links, and Resources

Historical geography and demography

  • Aske Brock, Jelle van Lottum and Catherine Sumnall, 2015, ‘Mobility, Migration and Human Capital in the Long Eighteenth Century: the life of Joseph Anton Ponsaing’, in M. Fusaro, B. Allaire, R. Blakemore and T. Vanneste (eds.) ‘Law, Labour and Empire: comparative perspectives on seafarers, c. 1500-1800’, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Catherine Sumnall, 2011, ‘Illegitimacy and its social reception in the Gurk Valley, Austria, c.1880 to 1940’, in M-P. Arrizabalaga, I. Bolovan, M. Eppel, J. Kok, M-L. Nagata (eds.), Many Paths to Happiness? Studies in Population and Family History: a Festschrift for Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Amsterdam: Askant.
  • Catherine Sumnall, 2009, ‘Micro-geographies of illegitimacy and social change in the Gurk valley, 1870 to 1960’, Families in Europe between the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries (Editors: A. Fauve-Chamoux & I. Bolovan), Cluj-Napoca: Babes-Bolyai University Press.
  • Catherine Sumnall, 2009, ‘There’s no such thing as sin in the Alps. Some Reflections on the historical demography of illegitimacy in Carinthia after 1868’, Transylvanian Review XVIII, Supplement to conference: Demographic changes in the time of Industrialisation.