MST Course Descriptions

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MST1003Y Professional development for Medieval Studies PhDs

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.

MST1020H Medieval Latin Epic

Prerequisite: MST 1001Y or Level Two Latin Pass
A reading of extensive selections from a range of representative Latin epics, with attention to the appropriation and transformation of classical traditions.

MST1101H Codicology

Prerequisite: MST 1104H or MST 1105H
A study of the making and keeping of medieval manuscripts. This course will include selected readings on various aspects of manuscript production as well as a practicum on the codicological description of manuscripts.

MST1104H Paleography

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.

MST1105H Latin Palaeography II

Prerequisite: MST1104H
Study of Latin Scripts from 1200 to 1600 A.D., with attention to the cultural-historical background of Gothic writing, the physical characteristics of manuscripts, library practices and bibliographical resources. Training in reading scripts is provided through weekly exercises.

MST 1107H Latin Textual Criticism

Prerequisite: M.A. Latin and MST 1104H or MST 1105H
Theory and practice of Latin textual criticism. Emphasis will be on transcription and collation, with an eye to producing an edited Latin text with critical apparatus and apparatus fontium. The problems of writing an introduction, describing manuscripts, analysis of a textual tradition, stemmata, etc. will also be treated. Materials for practice will include scholastic texts, poetry, and narrative prose.

MST1384H Exeter Book of Old English Verse

Prerequisite: Basic Old English, ENG1001H or equivalent
The late tenth-century Exeter Book is one of the four major codices containing Old English verse, and includes the greatest variety of vernacular poems of any surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscript. In this series of seminars, readings, translations, and presentations, we will consider the full range of saints’ lives, elegies, riddles, translations, snippets of Germanic legend, and adaptations from Latin in the Exeter Book. With its eclectic mixture of both native secular heroic poetry and verse that draws deeply on the imported Latin Christian tradition, the Exeter Book offers a unique and compelling snapshot of the literary culture of Anglo-Saxon England.

MST 2010H Old Norse I

This course is an introduction to Old Norse language and literature, focusing on basic instruction in Old Norse grammar and short readings from poetic and prose texts.
MST 2048: Music in Medieval Life
"Without music no discipline is complete," wrote Isidore of Seville, to which we may add that music was an integral part of nearly every aspect of medieval life; to rephrase Isidore, "without music, the Middle Ages are incomplete." Music in Medieval Life aims to demonstrate the ubiquity of music in the Middle Ages. No experience in reading music notation is required; participants are sought from varying disciplines, in particular history, art, literature, theology, and music.

MST 3124H Medieval Studies in the Digital Ages

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 3127H Texts and the City in Medieval Northern Europe

The explosive growth of Europe’s literary culture in the 14th and 15th centuries was unprecedented as an urban phenomenon. The concentration of aristocratic tastes, mercantile capital, and political power and the presence of civic, ducal, royal, or imperial chanceries accelerated the development of literary production in Europe’s cities. Cities began to emerge as literary centres, and clerks and commercial scribes were crucial in this transformation. This course will examine how late-medieval writers imagined themselves and the towns in which they lived. We will pay close attention to the relationship between biological writers, social texts, and the material conditions of writing in urban centres in England, the Empire, the Low Countries, Prussia, and Poland-Lithuania. We will experience through premodern eyes Thomas Hoccleve’s London, Margaret Ebner’s Nuremberg, Margery Kempe’s Lynn, and Janko of Czarnków’s Cracow. Students will encounter a wide range of literary and non-literary texts (e.g. pragmatic texts, mystical literature, and autobiographical writings) and material formats, such as letters, books, and rolls. Our topics will include female literacy, social scandals, mental illness, and petty politics.

MST 3152H Introduction to Old Occitan

A language course, designed for beginners who have little or no previous knowledge of Old Occitan and who wish to acquire the means to approach medieval Occitan literature in the original language. (A seminar on medieval Occitan literature will be offered in the spring term.) We will study historical phonetics, morphology, and syntax, using original text examples from different genres, including some troubadour poetry.

MST 3153H Medieval Occitan Literature

Prerequisite: MST 3152H or permission of instructor

An introduction to the lyric of the Occitan Troubadours, the great model that lyrical poets would imitate throughout Western Europe. Topics will include : the origins and the development of Troubadour lyric , the concept of fin’amors, language, versification, and styles, and the debates about these, as well as genres, themes, and motifs in general. The second half of term will be dedicated to the reception of Troubadour lyric in other Occitan literary genres and outside of the Occitan language domain (in French, Galician-Portuguese, Sicilian, German etc.), the choice of topics depending on the disciplines and interests of the participants.

Prerequsite : basic reading knowledge of medieval Occitan (normally MST3152 or a similar course) or permission by instructor (participants without previous knowledge of Occitan will have a limited choice of topics for presentations and term papers).

No required textbook.

MST 3244H Patron Saints of Early Medieval Italy

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 3310F Thomas Aquinas

PR: None. Knowledge of Latin is not required, but no doubt helpful
"Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274) is one of the most prominent figures in medieval philosophy. In fact, he is so prominent that many modern readers take his views, mistakenly, as the expression of what medieval philosophers in general say about a given topic. In this class we will look at three key areas of Aquinas’s teaching. We will start with his views on human nature and psychology as they are developed in his main work, the Summa theologiae. Next we shall focus on his philosophy of action, including his account of virtues and vices and moral goodness, before we end with an exploration of some issues in Aquinas’s teaching on metaphysics. Knowledge of Latin is not required, but no doubt helpful."

MST 3346H Medieval Islamic Philosophy

The graduate seminar explores various themes in Avicenna’s metaphysics, based on a back-to-back reading of the Ilāhiyyāt from the Book of the Cure in English translation. Topics of discussion will include the status and structure of metaphysics as a science, essentialism, ground and real definition, universals, causality, contingency and necessity, nature and proofs of the existence of God.

MST3604 Medieval Culinary Cultures

This course aims to search the field of culinary culture through daily life and tradition during the Middle Ages. Given that food has always been connected with the economy, religion, medicine, law, and politics, we will examine cuisine and cooking as relevant areas of research to understand life and society during the Middle Ages. We will explore Europe with a particular emphasis on Spain. Since we count on a better number of primary sources, the major focus will be the late Middle Ages (c.1300-1550). As primary sources, we will analyze cookery books, recipe collections, literature, images, legal documents, diaries, and chronicles, among others. You do not need a language backgraound to take the course since all the primary sources will be read in English or in translation.To put in context and understand better our primary sources, we learn about celebrations, markets, religion, festivals, taverns, food in towns, villages, and castles. These sources complement each other to build up a portrate of medieval culture and tradition through food.

MST 3501H Introduction to the Medieval Western Christian Liturgy

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.