Skip to main content

Nancy Caciola


Nancy Caciola is the department's specialist in medieval history. She was educated at Wesleyan University (BA) and at the University of Michigan (MA; PhD). She is broadly interested in the religious and social construction of identities in the later Middle Ages. For 2004-2005, Professor Caciola is Director of UCSD's Program for the Study of Religion.

  • Afterlives: Life after Death in Paganism, Christianity, and Popular Culture in the Middle Ages. In progress.
  • Discerning Spirits: Divine and Demonic Possession in the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003).
  • “’Night is Conceded to the Dead: Revenant Communities and Burnt Sacrifice in the High Middle Ages,” in L. Kallestrup, ed., Heresy, Magic, and Natural Philosophy in the Middle Ages. (Palgrave MacMillan, in press.)
  • (with Moshe Sluhovsky), “Spiritual Physiologies: The Discernment of Spirits in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Supernatural 1/1 (May, 2012)
  • “Exorcism” Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd Edition (15 vols.) Ed-in-chief Lindsay Jones (Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale, 2005), 5: 2927-2938.
  • “Breath, Heart, Guts: The Body and Spirits in the Middle Ages,” in Gábor Klaniczay and Éva Pócs, eds, Demons, Spirits, Witches I: Communicating with the Spirits (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005), 21-39.
  • "Mystics, Demoniacs, and the Physiology of Spirit Possession in Medieval Europe." Comparative Studies in Society and History 42, 2 (April 2000): 268-306. Winner, 2000 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Article Prize.
  • "Spirits Seeking Bodies: Death, Possession, and Communal Memory in the Middle Ages." In Peter Marshall and Bruce Gordon, eds., The Place of the Dead: Death and Remembrance in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 66-86.
  • "Wraiths, Revenants, and Ritual in Medieval Culture." Past and Present: A Journal of Historical Studies #152 (August, 1996): 3-45. Winner, 1998 Van Courtlandt Elliot Prize, Medieval Academy of America.

Professor Caciola’s current work concerns the boundary between life and death in medieval thought, and the varieties of ways of imagining return from the dead.

  • HIEU 110. The Rise of Europe.
  • HIEU 111. Europe in the Middle Ages.
  • HIEU 115. The Pursuit of the Millennium
  • HIEU 147A. Women in the Middle Ages.
  • RELI 147. Pagan Europe and its Christian Aftermath
  • HIEU 163/263. Seminar: Special Topics in Medieval history (topics vary by year).
  • HUM II. Rome, Christianity, and the Middle Ages.