News and events

  • Call for Papers – Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies

    Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies /Société canadienne d’études de la Renaissance

    The 2023 conference of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies / Société canadienne d’études de la Renaissance (CSRS/SCÉR) will be held in person (exclusively) at York University from May 27 to May 29, as a part of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The theme for this year’s Congress is “Reckonings and Re-Imaginings.”

    We are thrilled to announce our plenary speakers: Diane Desrosiers (Université McGill);

    Elizabeth Hodgson (University of British Columbia); Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto).

    The CSRS/SCÉR invites proposals that address the 2023 Congress theme in relation to the Renaissance and/or early modern period (approximately 1400-1700).  What aspects of the Renaissance seem especially germane to our own struggles to live in non-hierarchical relationships that respect our human differences and environment? Topics here might include early modern equity and diversity; race before race; environment and climate; the global Renaissance; public spheres; early modern epistemologies; religious conflict and reconciliation; early modern contact zones; distributive justice; queer sexualities; the status of women and minorities.

    We also welcome proposals on any topic relevant to this period in a full range of disciplines, such as art history, bibliography, book history, cultural studies, digital humanities, history, literature, rhetoric, medicine, music, philosophy, and the sciences. Trans/Multi/Inter-disciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Proposals can be submitted in either English or French, and should take the form of one of the following:

    1. an individual paper proposal (maximum 300 words);
    2. a panel of three or four proposed papers that address a defined theme (to be submitted in one file listing the names and institutional affiliations of the organizer(s), chair, and participants, the title of the session, a brief description (of 100 to 300 words) of the theme, and 300-word abstracts of each of the three proposed papers);
    3. a roundtable discussion (to be submitted in one file including the names and institutional affiliations of the organizer(s), chair, and 4-6 speakers, the title of the session, and a 300-word paragraph outlining the focus and goals of the session);
    4. a workshop, naming the leaders and describing the goals and the methods to be employed (maximum 300 words).

    By 31 January 2023, please submit your proposal(s) together with a brief (100-word) bio for each participant indicating the presenter or speaker’s name, institutional affiliation, position (graduate student, faculty member, independent scholar, etc.), and full contact information to the Program Chair Elizabeth Sauer at

    Click here to download the Call for Papers.

    Acceptances of successful submissions will be sent out by the end of February 2023.

    We also eagerly welcome nominations for the CSRS/SCÉR Lifetime Achievement Award. Qualifying candidates will have made major contributions to Renaissance Studies in Canada by their learned publications and will have contributed in additional ways to the flourishing of Renaissance Studies in Canada or abroad, such as in the quality of their teaching at all levels of study, in the supervision of graduate work, in research teams, editorships of learned journals, or by any other means considered appropriate. The selected candidates will also have been members of the CSRS/SCÉR for at least fifteen years across their careers. Please forward your nominations by 15 January 2023 to the President of the CSRS/SCÉR, Kenneth Graham, at

    We very much look forward to greeting you at our long-awaited in-person meetings and celebrations in May.

    Kenneth Graham, President
    Elizabeth Sauer, VP and Program Director

  • Rare books on campus highlighted at Archive Crawl

    Book lovers and historians alike were drawn to a recent tour that gave access to two rare collections of texts, documents and illustrations housed on Brock’s main campus.

    Held Sept. 29, the Archive Crawl saw members of the Brock community join representatives of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS) and the Brock University Medieval and Renaissance Society (BUMARS) to explore Brock Library’s Archives and Special Collections and the Concordia Lutheran Seminary’s Rare Book Room.

    The group was able to view some of the oldest materials in Archives and Special Collections, including a page from a medieval Bible dated to c. 1200 CE; the famous Clopton Charter from Stratford, England, from 1241 CE; a letter from King James VI of Scotland; and John Gerard’s Herbal history of plants from 1597. MARS professors Andre Basson, Leah Knight and Andrew McDonald were on hand to share their expertise.

    The tour continued at the Concordia Lutheran Seminary’s Rare Book Room, home to rare books dating back to the early 16th century. Texts and woodcut illustrations on display highlighted the importance of print culture to the 16th century Protestant Reformation.

    Featured items included a 1562 edition of Martin Luther’s writings with an early printing of his 95 Theses; notated liturgical music from 1592; a Danish-language Luther Bible from 1589; and Flavius Josephus’s history of the Jewish people from 1574, “complete with bookworm hole,” says Sarah Cavanagh, Librarian and Bookstore Manager.

    “We also have a small but aesthetically-beautiful selection of early 20th-century German books designed in art nouveau and art deco style, among them Oscar Wilde stories and fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Wilhelm Hauff,” she says.

    Other books on exhibit at the Rare Book Room offer a glimpse into the lives and history of their owners, featuring unique inscriptions, notations and painstaking and surprisingly creative book repairs, proving there are more stories hidden in old books beyond what is printed on their pages.

    “I’m excited that the participants had a chance to discover some of the fascinating documents held in these two neighbouring collections,” says Renée-Claude Breitenstein, Associate Professor of French with the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

    “My hope is that the time spent learning together, walking together and exchanging about the past will pique the participants’ curiosity for these fascinating periods, encourage them to learn more and go back to the archives, and maybe even open new research perspectives.”

  • The Universe in Verse: Hester Pulter’s Scientific Poetics

    The Universe in Verse: Hester Pulter’s Scientific Poetics
    October 27, 2022
    1:30-3:00 p.m.
    Cairns 207

    Leah Knight is Professor of early modern non-dramatic literature in the Department of English Language and Literature.  She is co-editor (with Wendy Wall) of The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making.

    Light refreshments served, all welcome.

    Click here for event poster.

  • Brock Talks returns with exploration of medieval Manx kingdom featuring MARS Professor Andrew McDonald

    Brock Talks will sail into its new season with a public lecture on the medieval sea kingdoms of Man and the Isles.

    Andrew McDonald, Professor with the University’s Department of History and the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, will be speaking on “In Search of the Sea Kings: Recovering the History of the Lost Medieval Kingdoms of Man and the Isles” in the Mills Room at the St. Catharines Public Library, Central branch, Monday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

    For two centuries beginning in the late 1070s, the rulers of Man and the Isles were formidable forces in the isles, seaways and lochs of Great Britain. However, their story has almost vanished from modern memory.
    McDonald’s talk will introduce the history of the kingdoms, their importance and some of the challenges in recovering their history.

    McDonald was the 2022 recipient of the Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. His book The Sea Kings: The Late Norse Kingdoms of Man and the Isles was nominated for Scotland’s prestigious Saltire award in 2019. More recently, he has worked with TED Lessons to produce a video about the Vikings.

    This in-person event is free, but preregistration is encouraged.

    Professor McDonald pictured at the launch of his book The Sea Kings: The Late Norse
    Kingdoms of Man and the Isles c. 1066-1275 with Allison Fox, Curator, Archaeology, of
    Max National Heritage in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Manx National Heritage)



    October 27, 2022

    11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Being held on the Canadian Tire Bridge (between Taro Hall and Plaza)

    Brought to you by Brock University’s Medieval and Renaissance Society (BUMARS) in conjunction with the Brock University Historical Society (BUHS).

    Your chance to pick up some great books to build your own library at very reasonable prices.


  • Archive Crawl – free event, all welcome


    Thursday September 29 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

    An opportunity to visit Archives & Special Collections and the Reformation Rare Book Room at Concordia Seminary on Brock’s campus to view material dating back over 800 years.  You’ll hear from experts in the field including Professors Andre Basson, Leah Knight and Andrew McDonald.

    Brought to you by Brock University’s Medieval and Renaissance Society (BUMARS) in cooperation with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Archives & Special Collections at Brock University, and Concordia Lutheran Seminary.



    Registration required, space is limited.  Click here to register.

  • Congratulations to Elizabeth Sauer on being recognized for contributions to Milton Scholarship

    Elizabeth Sauer is an English Language and Literature professor at Brock, and a member of the MARS advisory committee.  She has been named the 2023 Honored Scholar by the Milton Society of America.  Congratulations!

    Read the article here.

  • MARS Students Learn from Medieval Texts

    Students in MARS/ENGL 4P01 Sources and Methods of Medieval and Renaissance Studies got up close and personal with source material on Monday, Feb. 28. The class, taught by Associate Professor Leah Knight, joined David Sharron, Head of Archives and Special Collections, for a special viewing in the Rankin Family Pavilion of the Archives’ oldest items, including a 14th-century psalm from a church reader, the 13th-century Clopton Charter, a 1579 letter of King James VI of Scotland, and John Gerard’s herbal encyclopedia from 1597. Here, Sharron shows students an image of Niagara Falls from the 1698 book A new discovery of a vast country in America by Louis Hennepin. While some of the items have been brought to classes before, this was the first time all these materials have been collectively presented to students outside of Archives and Special Collections.

  • New Course Offering – MARS 3Q63 Africans in the Early Modern Iberian Atlantic

    For more information, contact Professor Felipe Ruan

  • Free online event – The Experimental Archaeology of Medieval and Renaissance Food

    The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at The Ohio State University will host its “Popular Culture and the Deep Past” hybrid event on Friday-Saturday, February 11-12, 2022 ( ). The theme for the upcoming event is “The Experimental Archaeology of Medieval and Renaissance Food.” This event will feature a scholarly conference nested within a Renaissance-faire-like carnival (featuring tasting sessions, recipes transcription, book fair, commedia dell’arte, falconry, and activities of all kinds).

    We would greatly appreciate it if you would forward the save-the-date announcement below to your unit’s mailing list(s) as we hope the hybrid event will be of interest to a number of your faculty and students, and is free and open to all.

    Please check here for full schedule and registration info.