Professor Jonathan Barry


I have always been privileged to be able to teach in areas informed by my research, and to find that teaching a subject deepens my understanding of its significance and guides my future research.

I have taught at every level, particularly enjoying introducing new students to history at university through my Sources and Skills module on plague and fire in Restoration London, which has helped to stimulate my current major research project on early moderm medical practice. I have taught the history of witchcraft at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, establishing and running for ten years the world's only MA in the History and Literature of Witchcraft. I am now offering this subject as a second-year Option on the Witch-Craze in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, which will incorporate the approaches taken in my co-edited volume, Palgrave Advances in Witchcraft Historiography (2007) as well as my own monographs and arrticles on this subject.  My interests as co-founder and current Director of the Centre for Medical History are reflected in my role as convenor of the module on Diseases in the third-year Comparatives, and in the MA module on Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern Britain. More broadly, I have taught the social and cultural history of earmy modern Britain, regularly being part of the team teaching the MA module in gender, culture and society in early modern Britain. Finally, I have a strong interest in historigraphy and the uses of the past, and I helped to create and have taught since its inception on the second-year module, Uses of the Past.

More broadly, I have been active since the 1980s in shaping both the curriculum and teaching practice in History and at the University more broadly, culminating in my position as Dean of Taught Programmes 2008-12, and my work with the QAA. I helped to reshape the History curriculum radically both in the mid-1990s and in the establishment of the current version of the programme in 2011. In all of these activities I have been guided by the view that students learn best as active researchers and teachers, not passive learners, by collaboration with each other and with staff, and that the skills required as an academic historian are fundamentally the same as those which can be transferred into a successful and valuable life as a citizen in any walk of life.


Modules taught