Centre for Medieval Studies
The Centre for Medieval Studies was founded in 1964, a collaboration between a group of scholars with diverse departmental affiliations (English, French, History, Philosophy, German). Their belief that disciplinary boundaries did not serve well the broad study of an extended period of history led to the establishment of the first of the University’s many interdisciplinary centres of study and research. It was particularly appropriate that such a centre should exist within the University of Toronto, since the University since 1929 already housed (at St. Michael’s College) an independent Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
Founded as a graduate unit with programs at the level of MA and PhD, the Centre quickly grew, with new appointments in Medieval Latin, Music, Old English and Old Norse, Irish and Welsh. By the early 1970s it had become one of the most important centres in the world for the study of the Middle Ages. The Centre has taken a broad view of the Middle Ages, from the study of late Antiquity to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. From the beginning, the foundation of its academic programs has been intensive training for students in the tools of research, especially a thorough grounding in Latin and training in palaeography (the study of medieval handwriting). It is one of the world’s largest centres for the study of the Middle Ages, with a complement of about 20 MA students and 65 PhD students. Graduates of the Centre’s doctoral program are fully prepared to undertake research in original documents from the period; graduates occupy important positions in teaching and research in universities around the world.
The Centre also participates in several collaborative programs (Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Women’s and Gender Studies, Jewish Studies) and takes the lead in its own collaborative program in the Editing of Medieval Texts.
Directors of the Centre
1964. Bertie Wilkinson
1966. John Leyerle
1976. George Rigg (Acting Director)
1978. Norman P. Zacour
1983. Robert A. Taylor
1985. Timothy McGee (Acting Director)
1986. Robert A. Taylor
1988. David Klausner (Acting Director)
1989. Jill R. Webster
1994. Roberta Frank
1999. David Klausner
2004. Andy Orchard
2007. Lawrin Armstrong
2008. John Magee
2013. Suzanne Akbari
2018. Isabelle Cochelin (Acting Director)
2019. Isabelle Cochelin (Interim Director)
2020. John Magee