SMC One: The Boyle Seminar in Scripts and Stories

St. Michael’s College introduces the Boyle Seminar

New in 2018-19, the Boyle Seminar brings first-year students to the intersection of Celtic and mediaeval cultures. The Seminar, inspired by the work of Fr. Leonard Boyle, an internationally-renowned scholar of manuscripts and long-time figure on St. Michael’s College campus, invites students to investigate layers of history, analyze mediaeval books, and take language instruction in Latin or Irish.

Through lectures, seminars, language instruction, workshops, and guest speakers, students will study texts and their stories in their own times and over the centuries.

The course is taught by University of St. Michael’s College Assistant Professors Máirtín Coilféir and Alison More. In Summer 2019, students in the Boyle Seminar will be invited to travel to Ireland with Prof. Coilféir and Prof. More for an out-of-course international learning experience.

Scholarships will be awarded to successful applicants.


What is the course?

SMC165H1, the Boyle Seminar in Scripts and Stories, is a half-course worth 0.5 credits. It will be offered in Winter 2019. The course consists of lectures, seminar discussions, language instruction, workshops, and distinguished guest speakers. You will engage with language and material culture and learn how to investigate historical questions and make claims backed by documentary evidence. Through books and textual cultures, you will examine the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual contributions that the Celtic-speaking peoples made to mediaeval Europe.


What will I be reading?

The course will draw on rare books and mediaeval manuscripts from the John M. Kelly Library and Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies’ extensive collections. Irish and Latin language instruction will include reading, lessons in grammar and syntax, and oral and listening activities.

Some of the other material you’ll be reading could include selections from:

  • Christopher de Hamel’s Scribes and Illuminators, a book about the production of manuscripts and the lives of individual artisans
  • Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization, the story of Ireland from the fall of Rome to the rise of mediaeval Europe
  • Leonard Boyle’s Integral Paleography, a collection of articles about different approaches to mediaeval writing and how scholars identify authors


What about Ireland—what’s the trip?

Interested students will have the opportunity to travel to Ireland with Professors Máirtín Coilféir and Alison More in late May 2019.

The trip is an out-of-course international learning experience and is not for credit.


Why should I apply?

The Boyle Seminar introduces you to university-level studies on a small scale, with students who share your interest in texts and contexts, language and thought, and historical legacies. You’ll learn to work across disciplines, form stories from fragments, and evaluate historical narratives. As a member of the very first class you will inspire future generations, forge lifelong friendships, and help create exciting new ways for St. Michael’s to flourish as the centre of Catholic intellectual life at the University of Toronto.


How do I apply?

Click here.