Course Descriptions, 2017-18

MST 1101H   Codicology/A. Andrée (PR: MST 1104H or MST 1105H)

A study of the making and keeping of medieval manuscripts. This course will include selected readings on various aspects of manuscript production as well as a practicum on the codicological description of manuscripts.

MST 1110H   Diplomatics and Diplomatic Editing/L. Armstrong (PR: M. A. Latin, MST1104H and/or MST 1105H)

Most of the written evidence that survives from the Middle Ages takes the form of archival documents—charters, contracts, account books, testaments, notarial protocols, administrative minutes, court records and so forth. This course examines the production of such material by royal, papal, imperial and municipal chanceries and its use by modern historians. Diplomatic sources, which often survive in a single copy, present editors with special problems. A central objective of the course is therefore to introduce students to the conventions of diplomatic editing through weekly exercises in editing and annotating documents from the Carolingian era through to the fifteenth century.

MST 1327H   Death, Dying and Society in medieval northern Europe/S. Ghosh

Death and dying, as absolute facts of life, are fundamental elements of any society and culture, and a study of how they impact on a society thus provides a very useful window into the nature of that society. This course provides an overview of the social and cultural history of death and dying. The bulk of the course will focus on the period following the Black Death (1350), but the first three sessions will be devoted to the period between the 7th and 14th century.  The geographic focus will be on transalpine Europe (England, France, Germany, and the Low Countries), though some comparative example from Italy will also be adduced.  Students will gain experience working with a range of documentary sources, as well as works of theology, art, and literature. The last session will examine the culture of death in northern Europe in the immediate wake of the Reformation and seek to understand how much the Reformation really changed how people reacted to mortality in northern Europe.

MST 1370H   From Farm to Market: Social and Economic Transformations in medieval Europe/S. Ghosh

This course will provide students with an opportunity to engage with the major debates on the transformations of the European economy in the middle ages, while simultaneously giving them an overview of the main themes of European economic history in this period. Although the focus will be on production and trade in primary commodities and the economic lives of ordinary people, students will also have a chance to examine how these aspects of the economy intersected with the luxury trades and the development of more sophisticated commercial systems. The course will be mainly concerned with western Europe, but we will also discuss how and whether there were already from the middle ages divergences in economic development between western and eastern Europe; some opportunities for comparison with other world regions will also be provided.

MST 1373H   English Language and Literature in transition, 1100-1250/S. Pelle (PR: Reading knowledge of Old English or permission of Instructor)

The course will introduce students to the early stages of the development of Middle English and its dialects through the examination of twelfth- and thirteenth-century texts, including the Peterborough Chronicle, the Orrmulum, and the Katherine Group. The aims will be to produce a basic understanding of the linguistic and lexical processes by which Old English evolved into early Middle English and to give an overview of some of the major works of early Middle English literature.

MST 1383H   The Poetry and Prose of the Vercelli Book/A. Walton

This course requires all students to write a significant research paper. Learning outcomes include the following: learning how to pose a significant and novel research question; learning to identify and master a body of research literature; learning to plan a medium- or long-term research project; and learning to communicate the results of this research with clarity and professionalism. In addition to these research-related skills, students will learn the fundamentals of graduate-level literary analysis. They will demonstrate substantial mastery of Old English and will be highly competent in reading both prose and verse.

MST 2037H   Legendary History of Britain and Ireland from Celtic Sources/B. Miles

The course is designed to introduce CMS students to early historiography from the medieval Celtic nations in both Latin and the Celtic vernaculars, with emphasis on legendary narrative depicting pre-historic Ireland and Britain. The approach will be to read especially the foundation myths of the Celtic world as texts relevant to the political and intellectual history of early medieval Europe, as well as narrative literary works in their own right. Sources will be read in chronological order, and will include, on the Irish side, the Irish Book of Invasions, and on the British side Nennius’s History of the Britons, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain and historical narrative from the Welsh vernacular tradition. All materials will be read in English translation, but the instructor will give assistance to students who wish to use their Latin and, for specialists, their Irish and Welsh, in their seminar research.

MST 2042H   Medieval Literary Theory/J. Ross

This course will explore the development of key medieval theoretical ideas about writing, reading, interpretation, imagination and memory.  Through close readings of rhetorical treatises, arts of poetry, preaching manuals and textual commentaries written in Latin between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries we will focus on how literary creations was understood to function, the role of style, the nature of authorship, the relationship between texts and readers as well as that of texts and authors, and the ethically charged understanding of how texts are shaped by as well as shape extratextual reality.  As a means of deepening our consideration of how such issues were framed by medieval theoretical discussions and put into practice in various forms of medieval writing, we will use modern theoretical treatments of similar questions to establish a fruitful dialogue between the articulation of such concerns in medieval and modern discourse. We will read works by Pseudo Cicero, Horace, Augustine, Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Matthew of Vendôme, Alberic of Montecassino, and Dante, as well as a range of medieval commentary and modern theory focussed on questions of authorship, memory and imagination. Reading knowledge of Latin is recommended.

MST 3123H   Medieval Medicine/N. Everett

This course surveys the major developments and examines key texts in the history of medicine in Europe and the Mediterranean from c.300 to 1400 AD. Topics include pharmacy and pharmacological treatises, surgery, therapeutics, regimen and diet, the transmission and adaptation of ancient medical works, the contributions of Arabic authors, the school of Salerno, the rise of academic and professional medicine in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, medical responses to the Black Death, and anatomy on the eve of Renaissance medicine.

MST 3124H   Medieval Studies in the Digital Age/A. Bolintineanu

From digitized corpora of texts and manuscripts to virtual and augmented-reality reconstructions of objects, buildings, and archaeological sites, the materials of medieval history, literature, and cultural heritage archives are increasingly entering the digital realm. The aims of this course are twofold.  The first aim is to familiarize students with the intellectual landscape of digital medieval studies—from editions, archives, and tools, to communities of practice and theoretical approaches.  The second aim is to invite students to critically engage with debates in the field of digital humanities from a medievalist’s point of view, examining the fault lines in digital tools and approaches that are revealed through their contact with fragile, fragmentary medieval data.

MST 3159H   Classical antiquity in medieval France: the Romans antiques/D. Kullmann

Intensive study of the problems connected with the reception of classical antiquity in the context of medieval France, based on selected vernacular literary texts. The first half of term will be dedicated to close reading. In the second half of term, students will present papers on specific aspects of the topic which may take into account additional texts.

MST 3160H   Intro to Romance Philology/D. Kullmann

Introduction to the various aspects of the evolution of Romance languages from Latin up to the first literary texts. Particular attention will be paid to Vulgar Latin and to the linguistic, political, social, and cultural contexts of the first written documents in each of the Romance languages. Participants may choose examples connected with the languages they specialize in. They will also learn to make linguistic descriptions of medieval vernacular texts (which will enable them to edit such texts).

MST 3231H   Clio’s workshop: Introduction to Historical Methods/L. Armstrong

An introduction to historiography and historiographical methods.

MST 3321F    Philosophy of Mind in the Middle Ages: Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā) on the Soul/D. Black

This course will be devoted to a close reading of Avicenna’s most comprehensive work on philosophical psychology, The Book on the Soul from his summa of philosophy, The Healing (Al-Shifāʾ). This text had a lasting impact on philosophy and theology both in the Islamic world and the West. Avicenna covers a wide range of topics, including the relation of the soul and the intellect to the body; personal identity, consciousness, and self-awareness; the nature of intellectual cognition; the nature of sense perception and imagination; animal cognition; and the relations between intellectual and sense cognition.

            Main Texts: Our readings will be drawn from the complete draft English translation by D. Black and M. Marmura, Avicenna, Healing: Psychology. The text is also available in the original Arabic, in medieval Latin translation, and in French.

MST 3322H   William of Ockham/P. King

William of Ockham (ca. 1287-1347) is one of the most prominent figures in medieval philosophy. He is famous as a logician and for his reductionist approach in metaphysics that earned him the label “nominalist”. But there are many other areas of philosophy to which Ockham has made interesting contributions too: epistemology, the philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and ethics. This seminar is an introduction to and overview of Ockham’s philosophy; since that will involve some discussion of other high medieval philosophers, the course can serve as an introduction to medieval philosophy.

MST 3501H   Introduction to the Medieval Western Christian Liturgy/J. Haines

This introductory course is designed to supply participants with essential tools for further research in medieval liturgy, regardless of their field of expertise. The first four weeks cover basic aspects of private and public Western Latin worship in the Middle Ages. This is followed by an in-depth study of extant liturgical books, especially those from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. The latter will include hands-on work with liturgical books housed in University of Toronto library collections.

MST 3602H   Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages/Y. Iglesias

This course focuses on the most common crimes and punishments in the Middle Ages. We review crimes like theft, infidelity, rape, insults, treason, prostitution, murder, and punishment as death penalty, amputations, forced matrimonies, economic sanctions, and torture. A goal of the course is to understand how punishments not only depended on the crime itself but on the criminal’s position in the social hierarchy. The course draws on a wide variety of source material including records of individual court cases, legal codes, literary texts, and images. It will be a survey of the middle ages.