The Centre is soliciting abstracts (one page) from CMS students for 30-minute papers dealing with any aspect of medieval studies. Submissions for papers on any topic are welcome: history, literature (Latin and/or vernacular), art history, philosophy, music, medicine, etc.
The colloquium will be sponsored jointly by the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Universität zu Köln and the Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of Toronto and it will take place in Cologne on November 19-21, 2015. The University of Bonn Department of English will also participate this year. The aim of the colloquium is to promote discussion and exchange among graduate students and faculty from both institutions. Costs for travel and accommodation of six students will be covered.
Cologne was among the most important German cities of the Middle Ages and still boasts twelve Romanesque churches and many other buildings from the later Middle Ages. It is home to the biggest medieval urban archive north of the Alps and several other important archives and libraries (e.g. the library of the archdiocese). With over 40,000 students the University of Cologne is also one of the biggest German universities.
For a PDF version of this Call for Papers, click here.
The Canada Chaucer Seminar will take place on Saturday April 18th, 2015 at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto from 9:00-5:30 with a reception to follow. All are welcome to attend. There is no registration fee.
Emily Steiner (Pennsylvania): “Encyclopedic Style: Trevisa’s Literary Prose”
Paul Strohm (Columbia): “Chaucer’s Poetical and Empirical ‘I’ “
Suzanne Hagedorn (College of William and Mary)
Andrew Kraebel (Trinity)
Anne McTaggart (University of Western Ontario)
Megan Murton (Xavier University)
Peter Robinson (University of Saskatchewan)
Eve Salisbury (Western Michigan University)
Andrea Schutz (St. Thomas University)
The full program is available at: Canada Chaucer Seminar 2015
Historia calamitatum: Consolation to a Friend
Toronto Medieval Latin Texts
Edited from Troyes, Médiathèque du Grand Troyes, MS 802 by Alexander Andrée
Peter Abelard’s Letter to a Friend, frequently known as The Story of My Calamities, recounts the meteoric and disastrous career of one of the driving forces of the twelfth-century renaissance. The son of a minor Breton noble family, a public intellectual who turned the academic establishment on its head, lover of Heloise, and sometimes his own worst enemy, Abelard produced in elegant prose one of the signal works of medieval autobiography. This new edition presents the Latin text as it appears in the earliest manuscript—until recently misdated by a hundred years—studded with a commentary that explicates the circumstances of its composition, context, and language.
Friday, 1 May 2015
Chair: Roy Liuzza (University of Toronto)
Sarah Keefer (Trent University): Looking at it Another Way: the Bayeux Tapestry through the Lens of Liturgy
Chair: Mary Catherine Davidson (York University)
Ian McDougall (University of Toronto): Bits and Pieces: Some Fragmentary Thoughts on Dealing with Fragments in the DOE
Chair: Rob Getz (University of Toronto)
Robin Norris (Carleton University): Eadui Basan, Prince of Litanists?
Chair: Valentine Pakis (University of Toronto)
Michael Fox (Western University): Beowulf: Following the Formula
All sessions will take place at the Centre for Medieval Studies, Room 301. All are welcome.
This event would not be possible without the generous support of the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Department of English, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.
To download the program click here.
11 March 2015
Professor Cheryl Regehr
Office of the Provost
Dear Professor Regehr:
As members of the faculty appointed principally or cross-appointed to the Centre for Medieval Studies, we would like here to express our solidarity with all efforts to improve conditions for professional life and learning at the University of Toronto. We share with our students a commitment to academic integrity and learning, and we deplore the dramatic inequalities between different working positions at this university.
We recognize the precarious labor conditions under which teaching assistants, course instructors and sessional instructors work–and the impact that these conditions inevitably have on the quality of both undergraduate and graduate education, as well as on a sense of true and equitable academic community among colleagues. Teaching assistants and many course instructors subsist on wages below poverty level. Many are responsible for dependents. Many who struggle to complete their degrees once they exit the cohort covered by the current funding scheme rely entirely on paid teaching work.
We admire and support the commitment our teaching assistants and junior colleagues have made to address these issues, and we urge the administration to return to the bargaining table with CUPE 3902 Unit 1 as soon as possible.
Congratulations to Ryan Greenwood (PhD 2011), who has been appointed Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. During research for his doctoral thesis, “Law and War in Late Medieval Italy: the Jus Commune on War and its Application in Florence, c. 1150-1450”, Ryan became intrigued by manuscript and early printed law books, an interest he pursued at Rutgers, where he completed a Master of Library and Information Science degree. He has served in positions with a focus on special collections at Rutgers, Columbia, and, most recently, at the Yale Law School, where he was 2013-14 Rare Book Fellow at the Lillian Goldman Law Library. Ryan recently discussed the relationship between his research and librarianship in an interview with the online journal “Fine Books and Collections” (http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2014/03/bright-young-librarians-ryan-greenwood.phtml).
Well done, Ryan! All best in your new position.
“In fact, the history of medical treatment, until recently, has been essentially the history of the placebo effect.”
— Arthur and Elaine Shapiro*
For Nicholas Everett, the future of medicine may lie in the past.
Everett is an Associate Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of History and an expert in the history of medicine. He argues that many ancient and medieval treatments, which were often mixtures of plants, minerals and animal products, were neither ineffective nor placebos — although he admits a few were lethal.
“A lot of experience and medical practice formed over millennia of trial and error underlie many historical recipes and recommendations,” says Everett. “In fact, the most commonly used medicines today derive from folk traditions, and many of the active ingredients in plant medicines are still the subject of intense research for new medicines.”
Everett has been busy uncovering practices that might spark new medical research.
In 2012, he published The Alphabet of Galen: Pharmacy From Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The book is an English translation, with critical notes, of a Latin text that describes almost 300 traditional medicines and why people used them.
And this summer Everett and Martino Gabra, a graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, published a paper that describes the chemical composition and probable effects of a medieval medicine called the “Great Rest,” which included opium, henbane and mandrake.
The pair calculated the likely effective dose and toxic dose for the popular sedative. The study represents the first assessment of a medieval drug using the principles of modern pharmacokinetics, which measures how the body processes drugs.
“One interesting finding about the Great Rest was that henbane may have reduced the potential for overdose or addiction by creating a sense of disassociation within 20 minutes, making repeated self-administration unlikely,” says Gabra. “The morphine in the opium would have kicked in later, providing pain relief for about 12 hours.”
Gabra says the idea that henbane can temper morphine abuse could be useful to researchers today, and that the history of medicine offers many possible avenues for new research. He and Everett plan to apply their approach, which they’ve dubbed “historical pharmacology,” to other medieval and ancient treatments.
Gabra also hopes their methodology will aid another coming area of research: how plant-based dietary supplements and food interact with drugs.
Many plant ingredients react with drugs and food to adversely affect health. For example, chemical compounds in grapefruit juice can change the activity of blood-pressure medications. Ginseng can increase bleeding in people taking aspirin.
“Some researchers view plant medicine as fringe science, but many people are using plant-based supplements,” says Gabra. “There’s almost no regulation of these products, and patients often have no idea what’s in them. As pharmacologists, we have an obligation to study alternative medicine.”
Gabra will begin graduate research on cancer and tumour suppression this fall in the lab of Assistant Professor Leonardo Salmena. He also plans to keep reading beyond his main area of study — a habit that led to him to Everett’s history of medicine course as a first-year undergrad in life sciences. (The two have stayed in touch since.)
Everett continues to step outside his discipline as well. He registered for a B.Sc. at U of T in 2011, and has taken several life sciences courses. He says the course work has confirmed his belief that humanities scholars can reap huge benefits from studying science — and that medicine has a lot to learn from the humanities.
“Scientists today are under great pressure to look forward and to create new knowledge, but there is huge value in looking at past traditions,” says Everett. “People in the past were not stupid. There was logic in many of their practices.”
*Shapiro, Arthur K, and Elaine Shapiro. The Powerful Placebo: From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Print.
University of Toronto – 5-7 December 2014
Friday, Dec. 5 (Centre for Medieval Studies)
1:15 pm Welcome
1:30-2:45 pm Session 1
Chair: Suzanne Akbari
Patrick Breternitz: The Collectio Herovalliana – A canonical collection from Boniface’s circle?
Commentator: Nick Everett
3:00-4:15 pm Session 2
Chair: Lane Springer
Alessia Miriam Berardi: The Localization of an 8th-Century Commentary on the Song of Songs. The Case of the Anonymous of Orléans-Wolfenbüttel
Commentator: Karl Ubl
4:30-5:45 pm Session 3
Chair: Joe Goering
Andreas Berger: De his, qui contra naturam peccant. The ‘sin against nature’ in early medieval legal sources
Commentator: Peter King
6:00-7:15 pm Session 4
Chair: Bogdan Smarandache
Andrew Dunning: Personal Correction Practices in the Manuscripts of Alexander Neckam and Samuel Presbiter
Commentator: Andreas Speer
Saturday, Dec. 6 (Sessions 5-7: Centre for Medieval Studies; sessions 8-10: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies)
9.00-10.15 am Session 5
Chair: Martin Pickavé
Simon Liening: Envoys and Diplomacy in Early 15th-Century Strasbourg
Commentator: Lawrin Armstrong
10.30-11.45 am Session 6
Chair: Lochin Brouillard
Leah Faibisoff: Trademarked Testaments: Paper from Venetian Morea to Rialto
Commentator: Sabine von Heusinger
12.00-1.15 pm Session 7
Chair: Isabelle Cochelin
Christopher Berard: King Arthur and the Canons of Laon
Commentator: Udo Friedrich
2.15-3.30 pm Session 8
Chair: Kirsty Schut
Jitka Ehlers: Word – Image – Object: Negotiating Inscriptions of the Romanesque Art
Commentator: Jill Caskey
3.45-5.00 pm Session 9
Chair: Dorothea Kullmann
Zinaida Uzdenskaya: Thomas Beckett – an Ideal Martyr. Studies in the Iconography of Canterbury Pilgrim Souvenirs.
Commentator: Susanne Wittekind
5.15-6.30 pm Session 10
Chair: Elaina Lysack
Michael Schwarzbach: Telling the Truth by Telling Lies: Beast Fables in Medieval Chronicles
Commentator: Suzanne Akbari
Sunday, Dec. 7 (Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies)
10:00-11:15 am Session 11
Chair: Jake Wakelin
Christopher Liebtag Miller: Virgin Virago and Devil’s Bride: The Female Warrior and the Economy of Honor in Middle High German Epic
Commentator: Monika Schausten
11:30-12:45 pm Session 12
Chair: Andreas Speer
Julia Stiebritz: dâ begunden herze und ôren / tumben unde tôren / und ûz ir rehte wanken. Gottfried of Strassburg’s Literary Depictions of Courtly Music Life and the Latin Court Criticism of the High Middle Ages
Commentator: Markus Stock
The event is free and open to the public.
Sponsors: Faculty of Arts and Science, Centre for Medieval Studies, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne.
Canada Chaucer Seminar
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Call for Papers
The seventh annual Canada Chaucer Seminar will be held at the University of Toronto on Saturday, April 18th, 2015. The seminar provides a one-day forum where scholars, from Canada and elsewhere, come together to discuss current research on Chaucer and on late medieval literature and culture.
The 2015 gathering will include keynote papers by Paul Strohm (Columbia) and Emily Steiner (Pennsylvania), and several sessions of conference papers.
Proposals are invited for 20-minute conference papers on any aspect late medieval English literary culture. Submit one-page abstracts by January 10th 2015 to: