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Research

Laura A. Smoller, Professor, Department of History

Laura Smoller received her Ph.D. in medieval history from Harvard University in 1991. Her research focuses on areas of intersection between magic, science, and religion in medieval Europe. She is the author of a book, History, Prophecy, and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350-1420 (Princeton, 1994), as well as numerous articles and chapters on late medieval astrology, prophecy, saints, and miracles. Recent publications include “Astrology and the Sibyls: John of Legnano’s De adventu Christi and the “Natural Theology of the Later Middle Ages,” in Science in Context (2007) and “A Case of Demonic Possession in Fifteenth-Century Brittany: Perrin Hervé and the Nascent Cult of Vincent Ferrer,” in Michael Goodich, ed., Voices from the Bench: The Narratives of Lesser Folk in Medieval Trials (2006). Her work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 2003 to 2005 she was a member of the research group, “Knowledge and Belief,” with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She is currently completing a book manuscript tentatively titled “The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer and the Religious Life of the Later Middle Ages.” Smoller serves as Medieval European section editor for the journal History Compass.

Smoller’s latest work is “Teste Albumasare cum Sibylla: astrology and the Sibyls in medieval Europe,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Volume 41, Issue 2, June 2010, Pages 76-89. The journal issue is a special issue entitled: Stars, Spirits, Signs: Towards a History of Astrology 1100-1800.

Updated 6.8.2010