Dr. Janis Gibbs

Associate Professor of History
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Dr. Janis Gibbs has been a Hope College faculty member since 1996. She is currently associate professor of history, and she also serves as co-advisor (with Professor David Cunningham) of the Fulbright Program for students who are interested in applying for Fulbright Fellowships after graduation, as a pre-law advisor and as a regular faculty member (since 1999) in the Hope College Vienna Summer School. She is also a member of the International Studies Advisory Council. 

AREAS OF expertise

Professor Gibbs's research concentrates on sixteenth-century Germany. Her dissertation was on the relationship between religion, politics and identity in Cologne. Recently, she has been investigating the strange case of Hermann von Weid, the deposed Archbishop of Cologne, who, oddly, had two funerals — one Catholic one and one Protestant.

In addition to Reformation Europe, her teaching areas include the modern Middle East, the problem of genocide in the modern world, the Middle Ages and the history of civil liberties in wartime (a first year seminar).


  • Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1996
  • M.A., University of Virginia, 1991
  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1984
  • B.A. with highest honors, College of William and Mary, 1981


  • Hope College Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program (2015)
  • Nominating Committee, Society for Reformation Research (2014–2016)
  • Miriam Ussher Chrisman Travel Fellowship Committee, Society for Reformation Research (2014–2015)
  • Ad Hoc Committee for the Revision of the Constitution, Society for Reformation Research (2014–2015)
  • GLCA New Directions Grant, “Confessional Conflicts: Two Archbishops, the Empire, and the Community” (2012)
  • Herzog August Bibliothek Fellowship, Government of Lower Saxony (2011)
  • Semi-finalist, U.S. Supreme Court Fellowship Program (2011)
  • Co-Membership Secretary and Treasurer, Society for Reformation Research (2001–2011)
  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (1994)
  • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship for Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (1991)

Selected Presentations

  • “Experiential Learning In and Out of the Classroom: Roundtable,” sponsored by Sixteenth Century Journal, Sixteenth-Century Studies Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2015.
  • “Death Comes for the Archbishop:  The Double Commemoration of the Death of Hermann von Wied, Archbishop of Cologne,” New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012
  • “Death Comes for the Archbishop: The Two Funerals of Archbishop of Hermann von Wied of Cologne” (work in progress), Stipendiatenkolloquium, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany, 2011
  • “Mayors and Mourning:  Rituals of Burial and the Political Community in Late Medieval and Early Modern Cologne,” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 2008
  • Roundtable Presentation on Teaching Travel Narratives, Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 2007
  • “Jurisdictional Challenges: The Complexity of Jurisdiction in Early Modern Germany (or: Who's Hung Up On a Gallows?),” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 2003

Published Work

  • “Immigration and Civic Identity in Sixteenth-Century Cologne,” in Ideas and Cultural Margins in Early Modern Germany: Essays in Honor of H.C. Erik Midelfort, Ashgate, 2009
  • “’From Now On You’ll Be History’: The Transition from Memorization to Analysis,” in Beyond Tests and Quizzes: Creative Assessments in College Classrooms, John Wiley and Sons, 2007
  • Article on “Cologne,” Europe, 1450-1798:  Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004

Outside hope

When she is not teaching, planning classes or deciphering sixteenth-century German handwriting, Professor Gibbs enjoys politics and political satire, reading (especially speculative fiction), going to the theatre, traveling and thinking that she really ought to be working out.

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Dr. Janis Gibbs

Phone Number616.395.7591

Lubbers Hall-Room 330 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423-3516