Anne studies the social and religious history of Europe during the High Middle Ages (1000-1400). She became interested in medieval history while working on an archeological excavation of a medieval French abbey as an undergraduate. She completed her B.A. at Brown University (1996) during which time she also studied at Oxford University for a year. She is currently completing a book that examines the social and spiritual functions of Cistercian convents in the context of new religious movements in thirteenth-century northern France. Lester teaches courses on the medieval church, legal history, colonization and the crusades, and women in the pre-modern world. Her research interests also include the history of foundling homes and hospitals, the institutionalization of charity as well as the development and definition of urban centers during the Middle Ages. During the 2004/5 academic year Professor Lester was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Medieval Institute at University of Notre Dame.