Practices of Commentary will develop new collaborative links and to make use of shared interdisciplinary research interests at the University of Toronto and beyond, centred on the comparative and interdisciplinary study of commentary. Commentary is all around us – as journalism and scholarship, in the political domain, and via social media. Our working group will place this practice in its historical perspective, exploring and disseminating fundamental knowledge of the religious, literary, and scientific uses of commentary in premodern cultures. The participants‘ research interests span cultures from East and South Asia through the Middle East to Europe. We aim to advance our knowledge of the role of commentary within text-based cultures, including its functions across a wide range of media and languages. Through the richly contextualized interdisciplinary study of commentary traditions in their historical perspective, this group will collectively study how commentary functions as a central mode of the Humanities' engagement with the world. This Working Group will also collaborate with a similar interdisciplinary working group (on Kommentarpraktiken) at the Humanities Center at the Goethe University of Frankfurt, and we will schedule at least one joint remote meeting. Our forum, which will meet at least once a month, will proceed in two steps. In the Fall Term, we will discuss pre-circulated foundational texts on commentary from a variety of fields, including texts by Pollock; McCrea/Patil; Freschi/Maas; Minnis; Assmann; Smalley; de Lubac; Ohly; B. Smith; Woodmansee; Most; König/Whitmarsh; and others as determined by the group. In the Spring Term, we will explore new avenues in approaching commentary by pairing additional theoretical readings with the work in progress presented by group members.
Faculty, University of Toronto Suzanne Akbari, FAS English and Medieval Studies Alexander Andrée, Medieval Studies Elisa Brilli, Italian Studies Kara Gaston, UTSC English Shami Ghosh, FAS History and Medieval Studies Amanda Goodman, FAS East Asian Studies Peter King, FAS Philosophy Jeannie Miller, FAS Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations Luther Obrock, UTM Historical Studies Ajay Rao, UTM Historical Studies Audrey Walton, FAS English Graduate Students, University of Toronto Shuaib Ally, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations Deanna Brooks, Medieval Studies Cara Bruni, German André Flicker, German Anthony Fredette, Medieval Studies Katie Menendez, Medieval Studies Francesco Pica, Medieval Studies Joel Richmond, Study of Religion Ramzi Taleb, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations Dylan Wilkerson, Medieval Studies Parisa Zahiremami, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations