Laura Stokes completed their Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in 2006. Their first book, Demons of Urban Reform, examines the origins of witchcraft prosecution in fifteenth-century Europe against the backdrop of a general rise in the prosecution of crime and other measures of social control. In the process they have investigated the relationship between witchcraft and sodomy persecutions as well as the interplay between the unregulated development of judicial torture and innovations within witchcraft prosecution.
Their current research is an examination of quotidian economic culture during the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. This project, under the working title A Social History of Greed in the Age of the Reformation, is based largely on the examination of court depositions from the city of Basel. Its first fruit will be a microhistory on The Murder of Uly Mörnach, currently in process. Prof. Stokes also directs a digital humanities project "Panic and Pandemic" which maps outbreaks of plague and epidemic in early modern Europe against social and literary responses to disease.