Daniel Wasserman-Soler

I teach courses on European history (from Middle Ages to the Enlightenment) as well as world history. Some of my courses include the following:

  • Medieval World
  • Renaissances and Revolutions: Europe, 1300-1700
  • 1492 and the Spanish Empire
  • Europe and the Islamic World, c. 600-1800
  • Priests, Pagans, and Protest: The Reformation Era
  • European Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism?
  • Inquisitions: Medieval and Early Modern


My research thus far has centered on Spain and its relationship with the wider world. My book (Penn State Press, 2020) explores how European Christians dealt with people who were different from themselves (e.g., Muslims, Native Americans). Specifically, it examines how Spanish churchmen used different languages in order to foster conversion to Catholicism. After I finished my Ph.D. in 2012, I began to study Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.


Associate Professor



Educational Background

  • Ph.D., History, University of Virginia (2012)
  • M.A., History, University of Virginia (2008)
  • B.A., History, University of Chicago (2006)

I am...

…interested in encouraging empathy among my students. The readings that my students and I talk about come from people who lived many centuries ago. For that reason, those authors can be extremely difficult to understand. Their values seem very different from ours. But I think that they’re worth studying precisely for that reason. Rather than dismissing them, we should try hard to empathize with them. I think it’s a very useful life skill!


Associate Professor

My career at Alma began in


I'm an expert in

the history of Spain and its empire

Recent publications:

  • ”’Lengua de los indios, lengua española’: Religious Conversion and the Languages of New Spain, c. 1520-1585,” Church History 85:4 (2016): 690-723. 
  • La mala algarabía: Church, Monarchy, and the Arabic Language in 16th-Century Spain,” Medieval History Journal 14:2 (2011): 229-58. Co-author with Patricia Giménez-Eguibar.
  • “Language and Communication in the Spanish Conquest of America,” History Compass 8:6 (2010): 491-502.

Recent presentations:

  • “Truth in Many Tongues: Religious Conversion and the Languages of the Early Spanish Empire,” Newman University, Wichita, KS, 2019.
  • “How to Publish a Prohibited Book: Luis de Granada’s Libro de la oración in Italy,” Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Albuquerque, NM, 2018.
  • “Forgotten Best-Sellers of the Reformation: Luis de Granada in Translation,” Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Milwaukee, WI, 2017. Co-author with Daniel Cheely (U. Pennsylvania).
  • “Reading Luis de Granada in England: English Translations of the Libro de la oración y meditación,” Renaissance Society of America, Chicago, IL, 2017. Co-author with Daniel Cheely.
  • “The Expansion of Dominican Spirituality: Luis de Granada’s Libro de la oracion y meditacion,” Providence College, Providence, RI, 2016. Co-author with Daniel Cheely.
  • “Did the Spanish Church Have a Theory of Language?” University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 2016.
  • “The Languages of the Saints: Multilingualism in the Lives of Spanish American Missionaries,” University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 2015.
  • “Converting Muslims in 16th-century Spain: St. Thomas of Villanova and the Bishops of Valencia,” Villanova University, Villanova, PA, 2014.

Recent grants:

  • Mellon-CIC Seminar on Ancient Greece in the Modern Classroom (Harvard University, 2018)
  • Mellon Grant for Exploring Curricular Change (Alma College, 2017)
  • Wabash Center Grant for Teaching Religion (Alma College, 2017)
  • Folger Shakespeare Library Research Grant (2016)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar on Persecution, Tolerance, & Co-existence (Calvin College, 2013)
  • Fulbright IIE Scholar (Spain, 2009-10)

Other recent accomplishments:

  • Faculty Barlow Award (2019)
  • Outstanding Faculty Award in Social Sciences (2017, 2019)
  • Andison Award for Excellence in Teaching (2016)

Connect with me:

I've led

… several students who have worked on independent research projects. I really enjoy working one-on-one with students. Below is a list of senior theses that I supervised: 

  • Chelsey Cobb, “The Historiography of Maori Cannibalism: 1769 to the 21st Century” (2017)
  • Mackenzie Kalisiewicz, “Tadeusz Kościuszko’s Political Ideals and their Historical Development c. 1770-1800” (2017)
  • Jacob Judd, “Conflicting Expectations: Henry II’s Difficult Relationship with his Heirs” (2016)
  • Steven Smith, “Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People and the Formation of English Identity” (2016)
  • Katherine Vaillancourt, “Ramon Llull’s the Book of the Gentile: Persuasion as a Path to Peace, c. 1270” (2016)