At Cardiff University, I have designed and taught two year-long modules. The first is the third-year module HS1824 Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe. For this module, I translated primary source material into English from Latin, French, and Dutch. One of these I have since published. The module uses a range of teaching methods, including visits to Cardiff University’s Special Collections to work with early modern printed material and Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. My students and I used the card game The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow to re-imagine the dynamic of a village witch-hunt. (With thanks to Jonathan Durrant for that suggestion!) If you are interested in the module, you can consult the latest Handbook here.
The second (currently suspended) module, HS1759 Spain and the Conquest of the Americas only indirectly touches on my research interests. It is a much revised, expanded, and updated version of a module I once taught at Oxford (with the same name). Like my third-year module, this second-year module combines a wide range of primary source material with innovative teaching techniques. My favourite source to read with students remains the chronicle of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who survived the disastrous Conquest of Florida (1528) by “going native”, described the descent of some of his fellow survivors into cannibalism (a wonderful inversion of stereotypes), and developed an almost mystical alternative to Spanish imperialism. (Bartolomé de Las Casas, with his sarcasm, passion and single-mindedness, comes a close second.) Last year, I was really happy to be able to persuade Tania Bride, one of my first students and now a graduate student at UCLA, to give a guest lecture. You can find the latest Handbook here.
In addition, together with my colleague Mark Williams, I re-developed Cardiff’s first-year early modern survey. HS1117 Renaissance, Reformation, Revolution replaced Early Modern England and Wales, which introduces students to new primary sources, drawing on material in the University’s Special Collections and the National Museum of Wales. A short outline can be found here. At Cardiff, I have also supervised independent projects ranging from the Ottoman Empire to the Salem Witch-Hunt, and from the Scientific Revolution to the Glorious Revolution. Before that, at Oxford, I taught a wide range of British and General History papers, covering the entirety of the early modern period.
I am a committed teacher, and my modules have been very highly rated, consistently receiving marks above 4.5 out of 5. Student comments include “I genuinely cannot explain how great this module has been”, “Jan has been the best lecturer I have had”, and “Jan has been a fantastic tutor”. In 2019, I was nominated Personal Tutor of the Year.
At the graduate level, I am currently co-supervising, with Dr Emily Cock, Theo Rivière‘s thesis on childhood disability in early modern England and Wales. I was the second supervisor of Elizabeth Howard’s PhD project on Women and the Law in Wales. I have also supervised two visiting PhD students. Fabiana Ambrosi successfully defended her PhD on the Italian physician and demonologist Giovanni Battista Codronchi (1547-1628) at the Università di Roma la Sapienza in 2018. Lívia Guimarães Torquetti dos Santos has recently completed her PhD on witchcraft sabbat narratives in early modern French literature at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil.
I would welcome interest from students interested in a PhD or masters on Catholicism, demonology, or witchcraft in the early modern period, especially outside the British Isles.