Congratulations to Joe Goering for the CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching

Congratulations to Joe Goering for the CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching

Joseph W. Goering, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Toronto, has received the 2015 Medieval Academy’s CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching on Friday, March 13, at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. A well deserved award!


Joe is a world-renowned historian of medieval Europe and medieval intellectual history, and one of the main reasons for the outstanding reputation the University of Toronto enjoys in the field of medieval studies. Like a truly great academic leader, however, he has shaped his field not only through research and important publications but also by his vital work training new generations of medieval historians and medievalists in other subfields (Theology, English and Latin Literatures, etc.). Since 1988, when he saw his first PhD student successfully defend a doctoral dissertation, Joe Goering has supervised no less than 38 PhD students to completion at the University of Toronto. One would have to add at least an equal number of memberships in supervisory committees in which he did not function as the primary supervisor. In no small part due to the passion and dedication he has for training graduate students, he has never taken a passive role after agreeing to be on someone’s committee.

When students and colleagues comment on Joe Goering’s teaching style, they often refer to it as the “Toronto school” or the “Leonard-Boyle style.” This is high praise. Leonard Boyle was a former professor at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto) who later became prefect of the Vatican Library. Like Joe (who was his PhD student), Boyle inspired generations of medievalists around the world by his brilliant intellect and his warmth. What is typical of this “Toronto school”? It is the awareness that really great scholarship in medieval history and medieval studies in general requires profound knowledge of more than one discipline and set of skills. This approach is also famous for the attention it pays to medieval source materials, in particular medieval manuscripts.

Joe is scrupulously fair, thoughtful, patient, and encouraging, demanding a high level of achievement from his students but never failing to respect their points of view and their own developing scholarly maturity. When asked about Joe, his many former students always mention how dedicated Joe was to their work and their success. His style of instruction – both at the graduate and at the undergraduate level – takes individual students and their background seriously. Joe always tries to elicit the students’ creativity, curiosity, and enthusiasm, while at the same time instilling in them a sense of scholarly rigor. It seems almost miraculous how Joe has been able to make his doctoral students the focus of his attention, while similarly pursuing a highly successful research career and doing more than his fair share of university service. He is a remarkable colleague – generous, intelligent, and warm – as well as a truly outstanding teacher.

As was written in one of the nomination letters: “Joe also taught us how to be colleagues, how to recognize the immense value of collaboration, and that one learns more by listening than talking. He led us to espouse an approach to interdisciplinarity that is grounded in open communication and collegiality. It is doubtful we will ever be as generous, optimistic, knowledgeable, and wise as Joe Goering, but we wish to emulate his steadiness and sincerity as a teacher, scholar and fellow human being.”

Congratulations and thanks to our wonderful colleague and professor!

Congratulations to John Geck

Congratulations to John Geck

Starting 1 July, 2015, John A. Geck (PhD 2012) will be a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Memorial University. His responsibilities will include teaching and supervision in medieval and early modern English literature, a disciplinary breadth that speaks to his thesis (focusing on later medieval English romances), his experience at the Records of Early English Drama, and his PIMS postdoc (editing a twelfth-century Latin text).

Bravo, John!

The Canada Chaucer Seminar–18 April 2015

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.

Keynote Speakers:
Emily Steiner (Pennsylvania): “Encyclopedic Style: Trevisa’s Literary Prose”
Paul Strohm (Columbia): “Chaucer’s Poetical and Empirical ‘I’ “

Papers By:
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, edited by A. Andrée

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.

Toronto Old English Colloquium 2015

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.

For more information, contact Roy Liuzza ( or Fabienne Michelet (

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.

Letter of support from CMS faculty members

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.


David Townsend

Lawrin Armstrong

Jill Ross

Peter King

David McDougall

Ian McDougall

Yolanda Iglesias

Suzanne Akbari

Alexander Andree

Claude Evans

Isabelle Cochelin

Faith Wallis, Warts and All, Friday 6 March, 4pm

History of Pre-modern Medicine Seminar, hosted by the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto

Professor Faith Wallis

Dept. of History and Classical Studies/Dept. of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University

 Warts and All: Surgery and the Problem of “Too Much Body” (12th-14thc.)

4:00 pm, Friday, 6 March 2015, Room 310, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queens Park, Toronto, ON (416) 978-4884.

Capture d’écran 2015-03-05 à 4.29.36 PM

In the Arabic medical texts translated into Latin in the 12th century, western readers discovered hitherto unimagined prospects of surgical intervention. Besides repairing wounds and reducing fractures and dislocations, surgery could excise growths. Moreover, texts like the Pantegni offered surgical solutions not only for morbid “apostemes”, but also for other kinds of excessive or protuberant flesh which were not life threatening, but which were viewed as unseemly or offensive. Chief among these were overlarge breasts in men, the reduplicated genitalia of hermaphrodites, extra fingers, and warts. The medical rationale for subtractive surgery was weak, but the intellectual and professional ambitions of proponents of “rational surgery” in the 13th and 14th century embraced it with a combination of zeal and pragmatism. Tracking the subtractive operations across the treatises of Bruno Longobucco, Teodorico Borgognoni, Lanfranc of Milan and Henri de Mondeville reveals that some of the Pantegni‘s procedures disappear, such as sex reassignment for hermaphrodites; others, particularly warts, were outsourced to barbers; and some operations were replaced. Notably, male breast reduction was supplanted by innovative techniques for what is now known vulgariter as “tackle tightening”.


Congratulations to Justin Haynes

Congratulations to Justin Haynes (PhD 2014) who has been appointed a full-time lecturer in the Department of Classics at UCLA for the academic year 2014-15. During his appointment, he is teaching courses on Postclassical Latin literature for UCLA’s new Mellon post-baccalaureate program in Postclassical Latin. Since his thesis was on twelfth-century epic, he is particularly excited to be teaching a Latin reading course in the spring on Alan of Lille’s Anticlaudianus and Walter of Châtillon’s Alexandreis–with selections from their medieval commentaries. In the fall, he designed and taught a survey course covering Postclassical Latin literature from the fifth to the eighteenth century. He is also teaching undergraduate classes in English translation on the reception of Classical Latin literature in later Western European literature, including courses on the reception of Ovid and on the classical heroic journey to the underworld.