Postcard from Boaz Schuman



Fisher_LibraryMy name is Boaz Schuman, and I am currently an MA student at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies. Here, I am studying under some of the best medievalists in the world. Right now I am working to build up my Latin and paleographical skills, with the aim of pursuing research on medieval philosophy of mind. I am also studying Old English, which I first took up at the University of Calgary, as well as Old Norse. The libraries at the U of T have extensive manuscript collections, especially at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (bottom right photo) and the library at the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies, so I am in an excellent place to pursue research in medieval philosophy and literature.

I am also a junior fellow at Massey College (top right photo), an independent graduate student residence that aims to provide a community for intellectual exchange among members of different disciplines. In addition to its graduate students, Massey has a body of senior fellows, which includes many distinguished members of society and the academic world; since I live at the college, I get many opportunities to meet and talk with them. Just a week ago (Oct. 15, 2013) I attended this year’s Massey Lecture, Lawrence Hill’s talk on the cultural and scientific history of blood.

My time at the University of Calgary has amply prepared me for my experiences at the U of T and Massey College. The work I did for my minor in Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Studies gave me a plenty to include on my application for The Centre for Medieval Studies. Moreover, my years in the U of C’s Arts and Science Honours Academy (ASHA) gave me plenty of practice in interdisciplinary discussion and debate, which has made the conversations I now enjoy at Massey all the more fruitful.

In fact, my work on medieval philosophy began at the Taylor Family Digital Library where, thanks to the efforts of Murray McGillivray of the Department of English, there is a remarkable manuscript of the Opera of Franciscus de Mayronis (c.1288-1328), a Franciscan philosopher and theologian. I translated and commented on a portion of this text, with the help of James Hume of the Department of Greek and Roman Studies, and Nicole Wyatt of the Department of Philosophy, for my honours thesis in the final year of my BA. I plan to continue this work in my pursuit of a PhD here at the University of Toronto.

If you are thinking about what you can do with your degree from the University of Calgary, and especially if you are interested in medieval studies, please feel free to contact me with any questions: boazfs{at}gmail{dot}com. I may not have the answers, but I can certainly ask around for you!

With best wishes,

Boaz Schuman

[Photos courtesy of Milan Ilnyckyj.]