Jeffrey Bowman

Councilor, Teaching

Jeffrey Bowman is a historian of medieval Europe at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. In his research, he examines the social, religious, and political order of the Iberian peninsula in the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries. Bowman’s teaching encompasses Europe and the Mediterranean from the late antiquity to 15th century. In the classroom, he focuses on the interpretation of evidence—on how we move from laconic and fragmentary texts and artefacts to broad understandings of the aspirations, beliefs, and disappointments of people who lived in worlds unlike our own. An emphasis on understanding difference and interpreting evidence encourages students to approach the past with compassion rather than condescension, skepticism rather than sentimentality. Teaching at a small college has convinced him that study of the past has a uniquely powerful, integrative role to play in liberal education. Bowman is a member of the AHA’s Teaching Division. In recent years, the division devoted its attention to history curricula and assessment (especially through the AHA’s Tuning project). In the near future, the Teaching Division will examine changing enrollments in history courses over time. He also serves on a committee focused on the organization and future of the AHA’s annual meeting.