Congratulations to Talia Zajac for the Prize she won for a Recent Article

Talia Zajac (CMS 2017) won the Canadian Association of Ukrainian Studies’ Best Article in 2017-2018 Award for

“The Social-Political Roles of the Princess in Kyivan Rus’, ca. 945–1240.” In A Companion to Global Queenship. Ed. Elena Woodacre. Series Ed. Dymphna Evans. Leeds: ARC Humanities Press / Amsterdam University Press, 2018, 125–146.

ARC-COMP_Woodacre-Queenship_cover_8May2018A prize ceremony will take place at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC) during the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Public Lecture by Michelle P. Brown, June 6, 4pm, CMS

Join us for a talk by Dr Michelle P. Brown, formerly the Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library and Professor of Medieval Manuscripts Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she now holds the status of Professor Emerita.

Her talk will be titled “The Eastwardness of Things: New Evidence for Early Medieval East-West Relations

sinai palimpsest overlay image[2]June 6, 2019


Centre for Medieval Studies

Lilliam Massey Bldg, Room 310

125 Queen’s Park Crescent

Reception to follow

Dr Brown’s visit has been sponsored by the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and the reception by the Centre for Medieval Studies.sinai0055

Congratulations to Michael Barbezat for his new position!

Michael Barbezat (CMS 2013) has recently become a research fellow in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. The position is ongoing, with a five-year probation, dependant upon publications. His new institutional email is: email hidden; JavaScript is required.

IMG_2448Regarding publications, Michael’s first book was out last December: Burning Bodies: Communities, Eschatology, and the Punishment of Heresy in the Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018.

Among the most recent, one should also mention:

“‘He Doubted That These Things Actually Happened’: Knowing the Other World in the Tractatus de Purgatorio sancti Patricii.History of Religions 57.4 (2018): 321–347.

“Desire for Complete Enjoyment: The Use of the Latin Affectus in Hugh of St. Victor’s De archa Noe.” In Before Emotion: The Language of Feeling, 400–1800, edited by Juanita Feros Ruys, Michael Champion, and Kirk Essary, 76–85. New York: Routledge, 2019.

“A Conjuration of Patrick: A Legacy of Doubt and Imagining in Hamlet.” In Hamlet and Emotions, edited by Paul Megna, Bríd Phillips, and R. S. White, 41–59. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

“The Corporeal Orientation: A Medieval and Early Modern Framework for Understanding Deviance Through the Object(s) of Love.” In The Routledge History Handbook to Emotions in Europe, 1100–1700, edited by Susan Broomhall and Andrew Lynch. New York: Routledge, under contract.

Congratulations to our recent PhD graduates!

Congratulations to our recent PhD students who recently defended their thesis:

Annika Ekman: “Anselm of Laon, the Glossa Ordinaria, and the Tangled Web of Twelfth-Century Psalms-Exegesis”.

This thesis studies the textual relationships between a group of related early scholastic commentaries on the Psalms. At the centre of the discussion stands the commentary which is often said to epitomize the developments in teaching which emerged within the cathedral schools in the twelfth century, namely the so-called Glossa ordinaria on the Bible, and its association with Anselm of Laon, one of the most celebrated theologians of the period. Despite its central place in twelfth-century intellectual culture, relatively little has been able to be conclusively established regarding the origins of the Gloss. Likewise, the authorship of many of the early scholastic Psalms-commentaries related in some way to the Gloss remains uncertain. A great many suggestions have been put forward by modern scholars, but rather than looking only at one or two of the attributions, this thesis broadens the scope of the question and takes a comprehensive view of a larger group of these commentaries, showing that this is necessary if we want to be able to say anything conclusive about their authorship.

The first chapter examines the latest scholarship on the Gloss on some other books of the Bible, showing how this bears on the question of Anselm’s authorship of the Gloss on the Psalms. The second chapter analyses the relationship of the Gloss on the Psalms to its two closest relatives and attempts to settle conclusively the question of the direction of influence. The third chapter examines the evidence and arguments for the attribution of one of the other Psalms-commentaries to Anselm, arguing, on the basis of the expanded scope of the examination, against the attribution. It also begins to examine the relationships that exist within the larger group, and introduces a new hypothesis for the place of the Gloss in the family tree and for Anselm’s involvement its creation. The fourth chapter analyses the relationships of the group as a whole, demonstrating how they are all related to one another but that none can be the sole source of the rest of the group, and arguing further for the hypotheses introduced in Chapter Three.

Kirsten Schut: “A Dominican Master of Theology in Context: John of Naples and Intellectual Life Beyond Paris, ca. 1300-1350”.

This dissertation provides the first comprehensive biography of the Dominican scholar John of Naples (Giovanni Regina di Napoli), who flourished during the first half of the fourteenth century. John studied and taught at the Dominican schools in Naples and Bologna, and at the University of Paris, where he was made a master of theology in 1315. He spent most of the rest of his life in Naples, where he was closely associated with the Angevin court. Chapter 1 surveys John’s life and works, setting his career in its Neapolitan context. Chapters 2-4 deal with different aspects of his teaching. Chapter 2 contrasts his contributions to debates about the nature of theology at Paris with the way he introduced this subject to his Dominican students in Naples. Chapter 3 examines the role of medicine in his theological teaching, where it served as a tool for interpreting core texts as well as a source of material for preaching. Chapter 4 analyzes the symbiotic relationship between his quodlibets and the literature of pastoral care. Chapter 5 looks at John as a Dominican friar and preacher, turning to his sermon collection as a source of information about Dominican life in southern Italy, and Chapter 6 investigates his relationship with the Angevin rulers of Naples and the role of politics and political theory in his works. Appendices to chapters 2-6 provide transcriptions of unpublished quodlibetal questions, sermons, and other texts used as the basis for this study. Two additional appendices provide descriptions of the main manuscripts and discuss the dating and placing of John’s works. This study considers John from a variety of angles – teacher, preacher, friar, courtier, Neapolitan – and suggests that these overlapping identities cannot be productively separated from one another. It highlights the vibrancy of intellectual life in early-fourteenth-century Naples, and the strong cultural ties between Naples, Paris, and Avignon, as well as other regions such as the Kingdom of Hungary. Furthermore, it illustrates how mendicant convents could help to disseminate theological teachings from the University of Paris to the provinces, while also serving as sites of innovation in their own right.

Nomination of CMS Director Suzanne Akbari at the Institute for Advanced Study

CMS is both very sad and proud to announce that CMS Director Suzanne Akbari will become the new medievalist at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton). Below is her letter announcing this news to us, at the Centre. If you want to read about her nomination (and great research), please click here. We hope to celebrate Prof. Akbari and thank her for her service as CMS Director in the early Fall.

“Dear CMS colleagues, both staff and faculty,

I’m writing to share some news, which some of you already are aware of (on a ‘need to know’ basis), but which only becomes public knowledge this week. I’ve been offered a faculty position in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, starting this fall. With the permission of the Dean, I will continue to be a regular faculty member at U of T in 2019-20, on an unpaid leave of absence; from 1 July 2020, I’ll be an associate member of the graduate faculty, able to continue to supervise doctoral students and sit on committees, and to take on new supervisions (jointly with a local U of T-based co-supervisor).Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 7.35.08 PM

 With regard to graduate supervision and research activity, I think that very little will change: I will be keeping my apartment in Toronto and continuing to work on some collaborative research projects, and therefore in town about once a month, at least for the first year. I’ll still be up frequently thereafter, not least because my daughter Sara is staying in Toronto. I’m eager to remain a member of the CMS community, as completely as you’ll still have me.
This appointment came as a great surprise to me, and I’m still not quite settled in my mind. I didn’t apply for the job, and must have been nominated; immediately after the tentative offer, at the end of January, I was just shocked, and then delighted. In the last few weeks, though, I’ve become preoccupied by mixed feelings: pleased at this new opportunity to build community in a very different environment, and hopefully to have new avenues for public humanities engagement (which, as many of you know, is important to me); but also sad at leaving familiar environments, dear friends, colleagues, and students.
Best wishes,
Suzanne Conklin Akbari
Director, Centre for Medieval Studies (on leave, 2018-19)
Professor, English and Medieval Studies
University of Toronto”