Award Announcement: SSHRC Insight Grant: Practices of Commentary (2020-2025)

Congratulations to our faculty and students in the “Practices of Commentary” project, which has now won a SSHRC Insight Grant!

From the award announcement:

We are proud to announce a new five-year SSHRC Insight Grant project on the topic of “Practices of Commentary” centred at the University of Toronto (2020–2025).

Our primary goal is to set new research agendas for the longue durée of an interpretive mode that has been used in a diversity of cultures, has never ceased to shape opinions and worldviews, and continues to serve as a prime site for the perpetuation and innovation––and, sometimes, willful distortion––of knowledge, as seen in social media-infused digital spaces. The project seeks to develop a global perspective on practices of commentary, de-siloing regionally focused work while simultaneously offering fine-grained and nuanced accounts of the function of commentary in cultures and communities of the premodern world. This project thus has a global scope, bringing together both senior and junior scholars with expertise in various European, Near Eastern, and South and East Asian traditions to debate the theory and practice of commenting and commentary in humanistic studies today.

This project grew out of a Reading Group hosted at the Jackman Humanities Institute, begun in 2017. Led by Professors Walid Saleh (Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations), Amanda Goodman (Study of Religion, East Asian Studies), Jeannie Miller (Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations), and Markus Stock (Germanic Languages and Literatures), and with the active participation and support of our colleague Suzanne Akbari (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), the project unites participants from many further humanities departments at the University of Toronto, including Classics, English, Philosophy, and the Centre for Medieval Studies. It also brings together world-leading scholars from Carleton University, McMaster University, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Goethe University Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Needham Research Institute, and the National University of Singapore.

We hope that this grant’s collaborations, and in particular the students and other early career scholars who will participate in it, will bring about a transformation and develop a deep comparative background to our individual disciplines.

Stay tuned for further announcements, including our plans for a virtual launch for all interested colleagues. For further information, or to get involved, please contact PI Dr. Walid Saleh (, or Dr. Jessica Lockhart (

Final Instructions Regarding the CMS Latin Exams in September 2020

Dear Students,

     By now everybody who intends to write the CMS Latin exams in September should have registered with Rhonda Marley, specifying whether they are writing Level One, Level Two, or both. Everybody should have also indicated if they would be interested in writing the exam in person. If you have not registered yet, you are strongly encouraged to do it immediately. If you are not a U of T student, please contact Rhonda Marley ( to  obtain a Guest ID.

Level One exam will take place on September 9, 1-4 p.m. Eastern/Toronto time.
Level Two exam will take place on September 11, 1-4 p.m. Eastern/Toronto time.

 1. Writing the Latin Exams online

     The default option for writing the September exams is doing so online. Exams will be conducted through a designated Quercus site (accessible with students’ credentials for registered U of T students and via temporary guest access for students who have not yet registered and for external participants). Live support and monitoring will be offered to the participants in the exams by members of the Latin Committee through a video-meeting on Zoom. The exams will be posted on the Quercus page as pdf files, and the phone number of one of the monitoring Committee members will be provided for contact in case of emergency. The students will NOT be recorded while taking the exams.

     For the students who choose this option, there are two ways of writing the exam:

1) Writing the exam completely on Quercus using the marking tools provided by the system. The Latin Committee encourages all students to train themselves using the system through the practice and mock exams available at If students have problems accessing this page, they should contact Cillian O’Hogan (

2) Students who wish to print the exam, can do so after downloading the pdf file from the Quercus page at the beginning of the exam; then they will need to type their translations in Quercus. If a student who wishes to take this option, anticipates technical problems, please contact Greti Dinkova-Bruun (

NOTA BENE! In both options the students have to enter Quercus and stay in Quercus. Students are not allowed to open any other application but Quercus on their computer monitors. This means that students cannot cut and paste the exam in Word and work on their translation in a Word file on their computer desktops.

For additional information about Quercus, please consult this page. For additional information about Zoom, please consult this page.

 2. Writing the Latin Exams on-site in person

     The option of writing the exams on-site in person will be available to all students who wish to choose it. The venue will be the main building of the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies, i.e. the Institute’s classroom A and the Common Room. Safety protocols have been implemented to ensure social distancing and avoid health hazards. Masks will have to be worn, as per the university guidelines.

     All students, who are choosing this option, need to contact Greti Dinkova-Bruun ( who will be organizing and monitoring the in person writing of the exams.

     The Latin Committee also reminds the students that any students with specific accessibility needs or health concerns can express their preference for writing the exams in person at the University of Toronto Exam Centre. The Exam Centre will do its best to satisfy such requests. For additional information about the University of Toronto Accessibility Services, please consult this page.

     Finally, any change in preferences should be communicated to Rhonda Marley by 2 September 2020.

For the Latin Committee

Dr. Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Chair