Dr Raphael Hallett

Dr Raphael Hallett

Director, Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence
Associate Professor in Early Modern History
HEA National Teaching Fellow

+44 (0)113 34 33588

Summary: Early Modern Intellectual and Cultural History;History of Communication; Curriculum Design; Digital Literacy; Pedagogy of 'students as researchers'

Location: Michael Sadler 315


After attending Tregaron Comprehensive school in mid-Wales, I studied English Literature at King's College, Cambridge, specialising in Renaissance Literature, early modern theological writing and Critical Theory. These interests were sharpened during a British Academy funded MA at the University of Sussex, where I completed a thesis on  Francis Bacon's work and the publications of the Royal Society. 

I stayed at Sussex to complete my AHRC-funded doctorate and settled on 16th century cultures of print and epistemology as my key subjects. I taught a range of courses (from 'Creative Writing' to 'Hegel and Historiography') at Sussex before moving to the University of Leeds in 2007, to become a Teaching Fellow in Early Modern History.

At Leeds, I have become involved in key Learning & Teaching initiatives exploring Curriculum Design, Employability and the Student Experience, as well as furthering my research and teaching in Early Modern History.

Research interests

My research interests centre on 16th and 17th century print culture, with a particular interest in the way printing techniques are used to energise new systems of knowledge, logic and education. I look at the way disciplines re-shape their objectives, content and audience by inventing and adapting new forms of printed text. The works of Pierre Ramus, William Perkins and Francis Bacon have proved key case-studies for chapters and articles.

More broadly, I research cultures of radical Protestantism and Puritanism during the early modern period, looking at their writings on the Imagination, Vision and Memory in particular. I also study early modern discourses of persecution and toleration, and have written on Martin Luther, Erasmus and Thomas More in this context.

Current Research Projects

The Iconoclasm of the Mind: Print and the Mapping of Thought in Early Modern Europe

I am developing a monograph that focuses on the ways print technology effect the dissemination, memorisation and practical use of knowledge in Early Modern Europe. The Iconoclasm of the Mind: Print and the Mapping of Thought in Early Modern Europe will investigate the way print purifies, standardises and democratises knowledge, and will intervene in recent scholarship on popular print, the history of the book and early modern epistemology.

Centre for the Comparative History of Print (Centre CHoP)

I act as deputy director of the Centre for the History of Print, an interdisciplinary, Leeds-based project looking at transformations in print and media through history. My input concentrates on Early Modern European print culture, but insists on a trans-historical dimension, where different media revolutions can be compared in terms of the rhetoric and public impact of each innovation, and the backlash against it. 

Postgraduate Supervision

I can offer supervision in the following areas:

  • Early Modern Print Cultures
  • Intellectual and Religious History of Persecution and Toleration
  • The History of the Book / Reading (early modern to present)
  • Epistemology and Scientific Development in the early modern period
  • Classical and Renaissance Rhetoric

Recent students

MA by Research: Alex Cummins, "Functions of Astrology in 17th Century England" (completed April 2010)

MA by Research: Katherine Lowe, "Selling Out: Authors, Audience and Status Anxiety in Early Modern Europe"

PhD: Matt Dix:  Robert Wild and networks of nonconformity in 17th century England


Undergraduate Modules

I have taught on Faith, Knowledge & Power 1450-1750 (HIST1060), Historical Skills (Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic) (HIST1050), Primary Sources (Thomas More, Utopia) (HIST1300), History Students into Schools (HIST2540), Research Collaboration & Communication (HIST2550),  and currently teach on Heretics, Witches and Conspirators (HIST2180)

Postgraduate Modules

I have convened the MA in Social and Cultural History, and taught two modules within it; HIST5850 Concepts and Debates in Social and Cultural History and HIST5228 From Testimony to Evidence: Knowledge and Communication 1500-1750.

MA Research Methodology (HIST5000). My teaching on this module drew from 10 years research interest in Critical Theory and Historiography.

Learning & Teaching Innovation

I am contracted by Pearson Education to write 'How to Study History at University' (publication: 2014) a text that will examine the research and scholarship skills needed to succeed at University, and consider broader questions of student transition, development and employability.

Current University Student Education Fellowship

 In January 2012, I was awarded a fellowship (3 years, £10,000 funding) to investigate ways of assessing 'Employability' as part of the curriculum. The research will involve analysing existing 'employability' teaching and assessment across the University and the British HE sector, and investigate the ways we can link employability to research and subject-specific skills. The project will recommend a series of changes to the conventions, criteria and practice of assessment to meet new student and employer expectations, and to clarify the link between academic achievement and graduate readiness.

Completed University Teaching Fellowship: Bridging the Rhetoric of 'Academic' and 'Professional' Excellence

In January 2010, I was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship (UTF) of £4000 to research the respective criteria for excellence applied by Academic institutions and Graduate Employers. More often than not, University students find it extremely difficult to translate the skills they gain at University, and the academic feedback they receive, into a set of terms and experiences that make sense to employers. Part of the problem is an obvious gulf between the concepts and language used to define 'excellence' in each context: "nuanced critical reflection" may mean little to a business manager, whilst "decision-making" or "problem-solving" often have negligible value to an academic module designer.

The research project looked closely at the language of assessment criteria, learning outcomes and programme objectives within academic provision at Leeds, and cross-reference this with the language of development and excellence found in corporate statements, public sector manifestos, business training manuals, advertising (and so on).  Comparing the two forms of rhetoric, a dialogue was set-up between the values, skills and experiences that map 'excellence' in each sector, so that students, academics and employers can communicate more coherently across this divide. .

Developing  students' research skills and employability

In 2009 I was awarded £4000 funding (from the White Rose CETL Enterprise and Faculty of Arts Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer) to develop a new module within the School aimed at developing undergraduate students' research skills and employability. Nurturing research and enterprise skills in parallel, the new module Research Collaboration, Communication and Enterprise will offer students the chance to collaborate with local businesses, institutions and community groups, building up group research findings in liaison with academic experts and working professionals.

The students' research findings, falling under two themes, Race, Religion and Politics in Yorkshire and The Civic City: Commerce and Culture in Leeds will not only chart historical development and controversies related to the Yorkshire area, but be exhibited locally and publically, via exhibitions, media broadcasts and debates. This will allow students to be assessed in vital skills of communication and collaboration, as well as encouraging dialogue with a public and civic audience, energising the impact and reputation of Leeds 'History' within the area.

University Curriculum Design

I am currently the Employability 'Strand leader' within the University's Curriculum Enhancement project, looking at ways of broadening and re-designing the Leeds curriculum. I also work within the Faculty of Arts Learning and Teaching Committee and work closely with the Alumni Office and Careers Centre on projects relating to graduate employability.

I have been awarded  3 Teaching Enhancement grants (£1000 each) for: Knowledge Transfer within the 'Research Collaboration' module, the School of History 'Enhancing Student Feedback' trial and the  'Postgraduate Dissertation Mentoring' projects, and £3000 HEA funding for the 'Grademark Electronic Feedback' trial.

Other roles in the School

  • Recruitment, Admissions & Marketing
  • Student Development Officer
  • Director of Induction & Personal Tutoring