Canadian Society of Medievalists in Toronto — 25-27 May 2017


CSMThe Canadian Society of Medievalists will be holding its annual meeting at Ryerson University, from Saturday, 27 May to Monday, 29 May 2017.

The plenary address will be delivered by the Centre’s Director, Suzanne Conklin Akbari on Saturday, 27 May, 4:30-5:30 PM.

A number of members of the CMS community, including faculty, students, and alumni, will be presenting at the conference:

Lochin Brouillard (University of Toronto), “Paterfamilias, Son, and Servant: Rethinking the History of Service and the Family in the Medieval Monastery”.

Isabelle Cochelin (University of Toronto), “Lay Monastic Servants versus Lay Domestic Servants”.

Eduardo Fabbro (Saint Jerome University), “Deo iudicante: God and Warfare in Carolingian Thought”.

Jessica Henderson and Laura Mitchell (University of Toronto), “A Virtual Library: Reconstructing John Stow’s Medieval Manuscripts”.

Rachel Koopmans (York University), “Physicians Pictured in the Early Gothic Stained Glass of Canterbury Cathedral”.

Patrick McBrine (Independent Scholar), “Biblical Epics in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England”.

Heather Pigat (Art Museum University of Toronto), “Economical Luxury: New Considerations of Purple Manuscripts”.

Richard Shaw (Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, Ontario), “The composition of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica”.

The full programme of the conference may be consulted here.

CFP: Cologne-Toronto Graduate Colloquium 2017



The Centre is soliciting one-page abstracts 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 is sponsored jointly by the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School and the Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien (ZEMAK) of the Universität zu Köln, and the Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of Toronto. This year the colloquium will take place in Cologne 9-11 November. Six papers by students of each institution will be presented and commented on by professors of the other institution. The aim of the colloquium is to foster discussion and exchange among graduate students and faculty from both institutions. The flight and accommodation costs of Toronto students will be covered jointly by CMS and ZEMAK.

This is the fifth colloquium in the series, which alternates between Cologne and Toronto. The University of Cologne is one of the most important German centres for the study of the Middle Ages and shares many ties with CMS. Participants in past colloquia have benefited from the commentaries of scholars from a different academic culture and from the opportunity to build academic networks in Europe.


Please send abstracts to Professor Shami Ghosh (email hidden; JavaScript is required by Saturday 20 May 2017.

Congratulations to our alumni, Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Tristan Major, and Dan Nodes, for their publications

Congratulations to Dan Nodes (PhD ’82), professor of classics in Baylor University, Texas, who has published a new critical edition: Parables on a Roman Comic Stage: Samarites — Comoedia de Samaritano Evangelico (1539) by Petrus Papeus, Together with the Commentary of Alexius Vanegas of Toledo (1542) (Leiden: Brill, 2017).

More detail on the publication can be consulted on the publisher’s website.

Multiple generations of CMS graduates, faculty, and associates have come together to honour the career of Gernot R. Wieland (Ph.D. 1976). This collection of essays was edited by Greti Dinkova-Bruun (Ph.D. 1999) and Tristan Major (Ph.D. 2010)

The essays collected here honour the life-long contribution of Gernot Wieland in the fields of Anglo-Latin and Old English literatures.

Over the span of his career, Gernot R. Wieland has been actively engaged in the contribution and promotion of the study of medieval literature, particularly in Anglo-Latin and Old English. From his early work on glosses in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, to his later editorial work for The Journal of Medieval Latin, Wieland has provided the field with diverse, diligent, and creative scholarship. The contributors of this volume pay tribute to the significance of Wieland’s teaching and learning in the literature of medieval Europe by presenting him with twelve essays on varied aspects of the subject.

The first section of the volume aims to honour Wieland’s contributions to the study of medieval glossing. It deals with the history of glossing from early medieval Latin literature to late Middle English grammatical texts, as well as the early interpretative history of Walter of Châtillon’s Alexandreis and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britannie. The following section corresponds with Wieland’s interest in Anglo-Saxon literature, with essays on the bilingual letters of Ælfric of Eynsham, the poetry of Alcuin of York, and the Old English Hexateuch. The second half of the volume, which examines elements of Latin literature from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, is divided into two sections containing essays that well represent Wieland’s diverse philological and literary interests in medieval Latin. The third section of the volume on the texts and contexts of Latin literature presents essays on the books of Abbot Maiolus of Cluny, on scholastic virtues of good teaching, and on Walter Map’s Dissuasio Valerii. The final section on the texts and manuscripts of Latin literature provides editions of and commentaries on a Latin-Greek phrase-book, a treatise on the firmament of Genesis 1:6.

With these contributions, this volume honours the research interests of a great teacher and learner of the Middle Ages: Gernot R. Wieland.

More information can be found on the publisher’s website.

In memoriam: Prof. emeritus and CMS Director Norman Zacour

We are saddened to share the news that Professor Emeritus Norman Zacour has passed away, at the age of 95. He took his MA at Columbia University and completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. In 1966, he was appointed as a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. Professor Zacour was one of the first faculty members appointed to the Centre for Medieval Studies, and was director of the Centre from 1978-1983. His research focused on social, religious, institutional and intellectual facets of Medieval Europe, and he was the author of several books on the Crusades. Norman was an early adopter of digital technology and his many friends will remember the delight he took in devising elaborate autoexec.bat files for himself and his colleagues to automate computer boot-up tasks.

In 2013, he established the Norman Zacour Graduate Scholarship in Medieval Studies. The scholarship will be awarded to one or more graduate students from the Centre for Medieval Studies based on academic excellence, with preference given to international students.

A memorial event will be held at the Queen’s University, Graduate Club in Kingston, Ontario between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday 24 June 2017. You may send RSVPs and condolences to

Prestigious TATP Teaching Excellence Award: one CMS PhD student short-listed

Every year, the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation offers awards to the best Teaching Assistants on campus. Only twelve TAs make it to the short-list among hundreds nominated. Of these twelve short-listed in 2017, one was a PhD student from the Centre for Medieval Studies: Lochin Brouillard. CONGRATULATIONS!

Lochin 1Here are some extracts of the letter written for Lochin by the professor who nominated her. “Lochin has been my T.A. in the VIC 343Y ‘Sex and Gender in the Renaissance’ for the past three years and has gained my absolute trust and admiration for the great work she has done in the course. […] One reason for Lochin’s great success as a TA is her profound dedication to teaching and to helping students do their best. She mentors students on a one-to-one basis, learns their name, draws them into the discussion, and makes them feel at home and valued. Another reason is Lochin’s own character – open, friendly, relaxed, supportive. She epitomizes the best of what a teacher should be. She always has a smile on her lips and great ideas in her mind – she engages with students and contributes to class discussions with ease and elegance, and also with profound knowledge of the materials and the field. And she manages to steer a clear, scholarly course without infringing on anyone’s sensibilities (not an easy task on a course on ‘sex and gender’).”

The Teaching Assistants’ Training Program’s (TATP) Teaching Excellence Award was created in 2003 to recognize the outstanding contributions of teaching assistants across all four divisions in the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto. The award seeks to value the work of TAs who regularly inspire and challenge undergraduate students. It means that the individuals who won this award and the ones who were short-listed for it can count themselves among the University’s top TAs!

CMS does not have an undergraduate component to its program. Therefore our PhD students are sometimes frustrated as they cannot TA as much as they would like. The fact that one of the twelve TAs short-listed by TATP this year, two from last year (Amanda Wetmore who won the award and Nicholas Wheeler), and already one in 2015 (Michael Fatigati) were from CMS is the perfect proof that any institution hiring CMS students gets the service of extremely talented and incredibly knowledgeable TAs.

Good tidings from our alumni and alumnae

Congratulations to Tom Klein (Ph.D. 1998) who has had the pleasure to serve as the Director of English Undergraduate Studies, Idaho State University, since January 2016.  Tom has been working at Idaho State University since 2000, where he regularly teaches Old English and medieval literature courses, and directs medieval thesis and dissertation projects.


Congratulations to Edward Macierowski (Ph.D. 1979), professor of philosophy at Benedictine College, for one of his latest publications, “Which Sciences Does Political Science Direct and Use and How Does It Do So?” The St. John’s Review, Volume 57, Number 2 (Spring 2016): 70-78. This article illustrates the doctrinal importance of Bywater’s suppression of a manuscript reading in his Oxford edition of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. You can learn more about Prof. Macierowski’s most recent research projects here.


Congratulations to Lisa Chen Obrist (Ph.D. 2015), who has been appointed as a Senior Evaluation Officer at the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).  Her responsibilities include research and analysis related to CFI funding mechanisms, policies, and funded infrastructure as well as providing leadership, support, and project management on matters relating to outcome assessment, corporate performance measurement, data management, and science-technology-innovation policy analysis.


Congratulations to Russell Poole (Ph.D. 1975), who continues to serve as editor of Viking and Medieval Scandinavia and Manawatu Journal of History, devoted to the Manawatu region of Dr. Poole’s native New Zealand. In the last two years, he published the collective volume Egil, the Viking Poet. New approaches to Egil’s Saga (Toronto: University of Toronto Press) as well as two essays, “Identity Poetics among the Icelandic Skalds” in New Norse Studies. Essays on the Literature and Culture of Medieval Scandinavia, ed. J. Turco (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 143-84), and also “Pleasure in the gold cup: a skaldic affirmation?” in Frederic Amory in Memoriam: Old Norse-Icelandic Studies, ed. by J. Lindow and G. Clark (Berkeley: Wildcat Canyon Advanced Seminars, pp. 44-68).

Congratulations to Kathryn Salzer, Mary Dzon, and Catherine Conybeare for their new books!

The Centre for Medieval Studies wishes to extend its congratulations to three alumnae who recently published important monographs.

Catherine Conybeare (Ph.D. 1997), Professor and Chair of the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College, published The Routledge Guidebook to Augustine’s Confessions (London: Routledge, 2016).

Mary Dzon (Ph.D. 2004), Associate Professor of English at the University of Knoxville-Tennessee, published The Quest for the Christ Child in the Later Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

Kathryn Salzer (Ph.D. 2009) published Vaucelles Abbey: Social, Political, and Ecclesiastical Relationships in the Borderland Region of the Cambrésis, 1131-1300 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017). In addition, Kathryn has received tenure this very month, making her Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University.

Congratulations to Andrew Hicks for his new book!

Hicks, Andrew. Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).


“We can hear the universe!” This was the triumphant proclamation at a February 2016 press conference announcing that the Laser Interferometer Gravity Observatory (LIGO) had detected a “transient gravitational-wave signal.” Taking in hand this current “discovery” that we can listen to the cosmos, Andrew Hicks argues that sound—and the harmonious coordination of sounds, sources, and listeners—has always been an integral part of the history of studying the cosmos. Composing the World charts one constellation of musical metaphors, analogies, and expressive modalities embedded within a late-ancient and medieval cosmological discourse: that of a cosmos animated and choreographed according to a specifically musical aesthetic. The specific historical terrain of Hicks’ discussion centers upon the world of twelfth-century philosophy, and from there he offers a new intellectual history of the role of harmony in medieval cosmological discourse, a discourse which itself focused on the reception and development of Platonism. 

With a rare convergence of musicological, philosophical, and philological rigor, Hicks presents a narrative tour through medieval cosmology with reflections on important philosophical movements along the way, raising connections to Cartesian dualism, Uexküll’s theoretical biology, and Deleuze and Guattari’s musically inspired language of milieus and (de)territorialization. Hicks ultimately suggests that the models of musical cosmology popular in late antiquity and the twelfth century are relevant to our modern philosophical and scientific undertakings. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, 
Composing the World will resonate with a variety of readers, and it encourages us to rethink the role of music and sound within our greater understanding of the universe.

composing the world coverIn praise of Composing the World, John Marenbon (Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge) writes, “Hicks’ book is required reading, not just for historians of music and cosmology, but for everyone interested in medieval thought,” and Peter Pesic (director of the Science Institute at St. John’s College, Sante Fe, NM and author of Music and the Making of Modern Science) calls it “a scholarly tour de force that will be a valuable resource for all who are interested in the deep history of cosmic harmony.”



For more details on the book, consult the publisher’s website here.


Toronto Old English Colloquium – 9 May 2017

The Centre for Medieval Studies and the Department of English (UTSG) cordially invite all those interested to the Toronto Old English Colloquium 2017, scheduled for Tuesday, May 9th.

This year’s colloquium features a plenary talk by Dr. Rosalind Love, the head of Cambridge University’s Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, entitled “Imagination and Authority: Early Medieval Exercises in Reading the Text.”

The event is free of charge and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. The detailed program can be consulted below.


Medieval Academy of America Meeting 2017 — a great success

From the blog of the Medieval Academy of America:

“The 2017 meeting was a great success, with 468 attendees, three plenaries, fifty-one concurrent sessions, receptions in art-filled venues, and, after several days of rain and snow, two final days in the sun. The opening plenary, “The Cairo Geniza and the Middle East’s Archive Problem,” was delivered by Marina Rustow (Princeton University), who demonstrated how methodologies used to study western European manuscripts can be applied to fragmentary manuscripts of the Middle East and Asia, with stunning and innovative results. MAA President Carmela Vircillo Franklin (Columbia Univ.) delivered her plenary lecture on the editorial history of the Liber Pontificalis, focusing on Francesco Bianchini’s 1718 edition, an innovative volume that included drawings and diagrams in support of his editorial arguments.

Five Fellows were inducted at the Fellows’ Session on Saturday afternoon: (l-r) Susan Einbinder (Univ. of Connecticut), David d’Avray (Corresponding Fellow, Univ. College London), Charles Burnett (Corresponding Fellow, Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study Univ. of London), Nicole Bériou (Corresponding Fellow, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes), and Douglas Kelly (Univ. of Wisconsin)

The Fellows’ Plenary was to have been delivered by Monica Green (Arizona State University). In Prof. Green’s unfortunate absence, Jonathan Hsy (George Washington Univ.) bravely stepped in to deliver her paper in her stead, while Prof. Green followed along online and answered questions that were live-Tweeted to her using #MAA2017. The CARA plenary session addressed the topic of “Mediterranean Sexualities.” Roundtables were held on the timely and important topics of open-access publishing, diversity in curricula and on campus, Medieval Studies in K-12 curricula, and careers off the tenure track. The full program is available here.

Reception at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Receptions were held at Victoria College, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Aga Khan Museum.

During the Business Meeting, the following awards were presented: the Kindrick-CARA Award for Service to Medieval Studies was awarded to John Van Engen (Univ. of Notre Dame); CARA Awards for Excellence in Teaching were awarded to Roberta Frank (Yale Univ.) and Amy Livingstone (Wittenberg Univ.); the award for Best Graduate Student Paper was awarded to Brett W. Smith (The Catholic Univ. of America) for his paper, “Robert Grosseteste’s Aspectus/Affectus Distinction in his Pauline Commentaries.” MAA Annual Meeting Bursaries were awarded to the following students: Samuel B. Johnson (Univ. of Notre Dame), “Harmonies of Salvation: Numerical Exegesis as Music in Augustine’s De Trinitate“; Matt King (Univ. of Minnesota), “The Intersecting Mediterranean: The Case of Norman Sicily and Zirid Ifrīqiya”; Leann Wheless Martin (Univ. of Washington), “Defeating Antichrist, Defending the Church: Music in the Ludus de Antichristo“; Rachel McNellis (Case Western Reserve Univ.), “Performance of the Visual and Participation in the Divine: Sacred Representation in Cordier’s Tout par compas“; Erin E. Sweany (Indiana Univ.), “Women’s Voices in the Old English Medical Corpus: Reassessing wifgemadlan“; Hannah Weaver (Harvard Univ), “Language and Authority in Lawman’s Brut“; Neil Weijer (Johns Hopkins Univ.), “Hybrid or Hodgepodge? The Latin Brut and the Middle English Chronicle Tradition.”

Four publication honors were awarded during the Presidential Plenary session. The Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize was awarded to Rosemary O’Neill (Kenyon College) for her article, “Counting Sheep in the C Text of Piers Plowman,” The Yearbook of Langland Studies 29 (2015), 89-116; John Nicholas Brown prizes were awarded to Jacqueline E. Jung, The Gothic Screen: Space, Sculpture, and Community in the Cathedrals of France and Germany, ca. 1200-1400 (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013) and to Jonathan R. Lyon, Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100-1250 (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 2013); the first annual Digital Humanities Prize was awarded to DigiPal: Digital Resources and Database of Palaeography, Manuscript Studies and Diplomatic; and the Haskins Medal was awarded to Joel Kaye, A History of Balance, 1250 – 1375.  The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

CARA Meeting on Sunday morning

The annual meeting of the Committee on Centers and Regional Associations (CARA) took place on Sunday morning and was attended by thirty CARA delegates, each of whom was there representing their program or department. The morning began with a roundtable on collaborations between scientists and medievalists (in this session, Monica Green’s paper was delivered by Patrick Geary (School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study)). Profs. Green and Geary presented on their respective paleogenetics projects. In collaboration with geneticists, Prof. Green is exploring the identification and spread of medieval pathogens and Prof. Geary is studying human migration in the early Middle Ages. Alexandra Gillespie (Univ. of Toronto) presented projects being developed in the University’s Old Books New Science Laboratory. The roundtable was followed by a discussion and brief updates from each delegate.

Participants in the Graduate Student workshop, “Digital Editing of Manuscript Fragments”

A graduate student workshop on the identification, cataloguing, and TEI-transcription of manuscript fragments took place at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies during the Annual Meeting, a workshop that grew out of the “Digital Editing the Medieval Manuscript Roll/Fragment” workshops previously held at Yale University and University College London. These workshops were partially funded by a Medieval Academy/GSC Grant in Innovation. See for more information about this project.

We are extremely grateful to Suzanne Akbari, the Program Committee, the graduate student volunteers, the University of Toronto, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies for their work in organizing and implementing such a splendid meeting.  We look forward to returning to Toronto in 2027!”