Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Abigail Agresta

Marjorie McLean Oliver Postdoctoral Fellow





Ph.D. Yale University, 2016
M.Phil., Yale University, 2013
M.A., Yale University, 2012
M.St., University of Oxford, 2010
B.A., Swarthmore College, 2009


My research examines how people in the later Middle Ages understood the natural and human worlds around them.  My book project, The Keys to Bread and Wine: An Environmental History of Late Medieval Valencia, builds on my dissertation research analyzing how the city council of Valencia, Spain understood and sought to reshape the landscape it ruled.  I focus particularly on the roles accorded to God, human beings and nature, and argue that the councl's understanding of God's role in the natural world evolved from their efforts to Christianize the landscape of this formerly Islamic city.  By showing how the supposedly superstitious practice of soliciting divine aid during natural disasters was in fact linked to greater landscape control and successful colonization, my research complicates the idea of a progression from a religious to a secular view of nature at the dawn of the modern period.

Other interests include urban history, history of interfaith conflict and coexistence, and the history of medicine.

Courses Taught

Hist 250: The Middle Ages


“The Doctor and the Notary: A Jewish Latinate Will from Fourteenth-Century Catalonia,” Viator 46:1 (2015), 229-248.

“Unfortunate Jews’ and Urban Ugliness: The 1391 Assault on the Jueria of Valencia,” Journal of Medieval History 43:4 (2017) (forthcoming.)


Rev: October 2016