Course Descriptions, 2019-20

MST 1002F Advanced Latin: Boethius/P. King (PR: Level Two Latin pass or MST 1001Y or permission of the instructor)

We will read selected parts of Boethius’s works, with an emphasis on understanding his Latinity and the ways in which it is continuous with or differs from classical (silver age) Latin prose and poetry. Students will be expected to prepare parts of the readings in advance, and a working knowledge of Latin grammar will be assumed.

MST 1003HY Professional development for Medieval Studies PhDs/S. Ghosh (For PhD students only)

This course is intended to prepare PhD students in Medieval Studies for the job market. It will provide them an overview of the non-scholarly skills they will need to acquire for the academic job search and for their professional lives beyond the job search, as well as giving them information about non-academic options. The course will meet for 12 two-hour sessions over the course of three academic years and will include presentations from a range of faculty and guest speakers, with special attention given to the unusual challenges faced by students in our unit. Individual sessions will include coverage of the following topics: i. Funding, Grants, Bursaries, Fellowships; ii. Planning for the PhD with an Eye on the Future; iii. Coping with Academic Stress; iv. Gender Equity in Medieval Studies; v. Alternatives to Academia; vi. The Medievalist and the Department; vii. The Teaching Portfolio; viii. The Conference Circuit; ix. Publishing Research as a PhD Student; x. CVs, Cover Letters, and How to Prepare for Them; xi. Postdocs; xii. The Academic Job Search in North America and beyond

MST 1104F Palaeography I/S. Pelle (PR: Level One Latin pass)

An introduction to early medieval scripts. The course is designed as a practicum in the transcription of scripts from the late Roman empire to the twelfth century.

MST 1110S Diplomatics and Diplomatic Editing/S. Ghosh (PR: Level One Latin pass, 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 1111HYHigher Seminar in Editing Ancient and Medieval Texts/A. Andree (PR: Level One Latin Pass) (For PhD students only)

In this seminar, mandatory for students enrolled in the Collaborative Specialization in Editing Medieval Texts, students will be exposed to different approaches in editing medieval texts and have the opportunity to learn more about textual editing across the disciplines, as well as presenting and discussing their own material before students and faculty in other units.

MST 1388S The Junius Manuscript/R. Getz

This course is dedicated to the Old English poems based on the Old Testament (Genesis A and B, Exodus, and Daniel) transmitted in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius MS 11, once known as the ‘Cædmon manuscript’. It will address the ways in which the poets adapted the native tradition of Old English verse to the rendering of biblical narratives, what can be known about the origin and transmission of the poems and their compilation in the Junius Manuscript, and other topics particular to the individual works

MST 1422S Introduction to the Study of Magic in the Middle Ages/J. Haines

In the last few decades, the field of medieval magic has developed into an important interdisciplinary area of scholarship. This seminar will serve as a broad introduction to magic in the Middle Ages for students working in disciplines ranging from literature to the history of science; to my knowledge, this is the first such course offered at the CMS. Following an introduction to the different types of magic – from healing and astrology to exorcism and necromancy – the seminar will briefly survey the historiography of medieval magic from the 1500s onwards. The bulk of the seminar will concern the vast range of mostly Latin literature related to medieval magic. While genres such as dream-books have been relatively well studied, others, such as chiromancy manuals, have received less attention. Significant time will be devoted to well-known works such as the Secret of Secrets and the Notory Art.

MST 2030Y Old and Middle Irish/B. Miles

An introduction to classical Old Irish. This comprises instruction and assignments in grammar and translation. A selection of Old Irish texts will be read and some instruction and reading will be given in handling later transitional Irish literary texts.

MST 3124F Medieval Studies in the Digital Ages/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 3226S Medieval Mediterranean History/M. Meyerson

This course treats major themes in the history of the ‘multi-cultural’ (Christian, Muslim and Jewish) Mediterranean world during the Middle Ages. Among the themes treated are: conquest and colonisation; relations between the adherents of ruling faiths and religious minorities; ideologies and practices of ‘holy war’; slavery; gender, honor, and shame; interfaith commerce; and cultural exchange.

MST 3232F Vernacular Literature in medieval Europe: status and function/D. Kullmann (PR: Basic reading knowledge of Latin and at least one medieval vernacular language)

Based on selected Latin and vernacular texts, students will discover the status and function attributed to the emerging vernacular literature during the first centuries of its production. An introduction in lecture form will be followed by a sequence of close readings of selected texts, which will develop into a seminar exploring specific types of witnesses (hagiography, treatises, prologues, lyric), specific functions (teaching, entertainment), specific figures (the poet, the jongleur) and other aspects of vernacular literature, up to the fundamental changes in its perception that occur in the 14th century. An important part of the readings will concern France and Italy, but participants may propose examples taken from other regions and languages of the Latin West (e.g. Iberian languages, Old English, Middle English, Middle Dutch, Middle High German, Old Norse).

MST 3244S Patron Saints of Early Medieval Italy/N. Everett

This course examines hagiographic sources to determine how various Italian localities (mainly cities) portrayed their pagan past, their conversion to Christianity and the sanctity of their patron saints. It considers hagiography as a literary genre, its origins, conventions and development over time, but is also concerned to find the historical context for a number of saints’ lives of obscure authorship and date: students will contribute to the formation of a new body of evidence from Italy’s Dark Ages. The lives will be read in English, with attention to issues of Latin translation throughout, along with artistic representation of the saint(s), urban history and topography, archaeological sites, architecture of churches and cult sites, rituals and ceremonies.

MST 3311S Topics in Medieval Metaphysics/D. Black

In this course we will focus on the metaphysics of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna, d. 1037), perhaps the most original and influential metaphysician in classical Islamic philosophy. Our focus will be on the Metaphysics of his main work, the Healing or Cure, although some consideration will also be given to Avicenna’s predecessors Al-Kindī (d. 870) and Al-Fārābī (d. 950), and to Avicenna’s critical reception by al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) and ibn Rushd (Averroes, d.1198). Topics to be covered include the conception of metaphysics as the study of being; the distinction between essence and existence; necessity and possibility; causality; universals and particulars; the existence and attributes of God.

Principal Text: Avicenna, The Metaphysics of the Healing. Trans. M. E. Marmura. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 2005.

MST 3327F Free Will and Human Action in Medieval Philosophy/M. Pickavé

Historically many philosophers have believed that human beings owe their ability to act freely to a special human faculty called the will. In this seminar we will look into the origins of this view by examining medieval accounts of free will and human action. For the discovery of the faculty of the will is often considered as one of the main contributions medieval philosophy made to the history of philosophy. The main topics explored in this class are: (1) What conception of freedom do medieval authors hold? Does freedom, for instance, involve a power to otherwise? (2) What is the basis of the free exercise of our will? Do we have free will and free choice in virtue of the will itself or in virtue of our capacities for thought and deliberation?

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 3601S Medieval Spanish Sources in Context: Siete Partidas/Y.Iglesias
This course focuses on one or more key texts from Spain in the high and late Middle Ages offering incomparable insights into its social, intellectual and cultural history. These primary sources will be approached from a multi-disciplinary perspective (literary, legal, historical, artistic, and religious). Their origin, purpose, formation, meaning, content, promulgation and influence will be considered.