Events Overview


10:00am, Wednesday, July 11, Isabel Bader Theatre

We will be opening the conference with a smudging, which is a purification ceremony performed by many of the nations that make up the Indigenous peoples of Canada. A smudging will remove negative energy and cleanse a space, or an endeavour. In a smudging ceremony, an Elder (someone who has been recognized as a custodian of knowledge) will light dried plant medicines (sage and sweetgrass among others) until they are smoking. The smoke will then be spread with a feather around all gathered. Those being smudged pull the smoke towards them and breathe in. After a smudging, the Elder will often offer a prayer, and the ashes will be returned to the earth. It is important to note that smudging practices vary across Turtle Island; in the prairies it is customary to remove your jewelry and glasses during a smudge as they interfere with the cleansing process.

Our special thanks for his welcome and for performing the smudging ceremony to Elder-in-Residence Grafton Antone, First Nations House, who was born and raised in Oneida of the Thames First Nations, and is of the Wolf Clan. Yawʌ’ko, Grafton.

Carter Revard

10:30am, Wednesday, July 11, Isabel Bader Theatre

The smudging will be followed by a discussion of what it means to be guests on the sacred land on which the university operates: the territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River; and a meeting place for many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. The ceremony will be followed by readings by Native American and Chaucer scholar Carter Revard of his own, modern Indigenous, and Middle English poetry. Revard, who grew up on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma, is well-known for his political poetry and his scholarship. Born in 1931, Revard won a radio quiz scholarship to attend the University of Tulsa, and continued on to become one of the first Native American Rhodes Scholars at Oxford before completing his PhD at Yale. He taught at Amherst College before beginning his prolific career as a poet and medievalist at Washington University in St. Louis.

Hart House Reception & Research Expo

6:00pm, Wednesday, July 11, Hart House Great Hall

There will be an informal reception at University of Toronto’s Hart House on Wednesday, July 11. Hart House is one of the earliest student centres in North America, and was established in 1919. The reception will take place in the Great Hall, which is immediately to the right of the entryway. Guests will be alloted one complimentary drink ticket, and then are invited to partake in catered appetizers and a cash bar. Entertainment will be provided by Pneuma Ensemble, a Toronto-based early music group focused on 11th-14th c. medieval monophony (such as troubador song and minnesang) using historically informed performance and medieval instruments. This reception serves as the formal opening of the Research Expo, with all poster presenters avilable to talk about their presentations.

LGBTQIA+ Get Together

8:30pm, Wednesday, July 11, Glad Day Bookshop

After the Wednesday night reception, all LGBTQIA+ and allies are welcome to join for drinks and mingling at Glad Day Bookshop. Glad Day is located on Church street in the heart of Church-Wellesley Village, long recognized as the heart of the LGBTQIA+ community in Toronto. Glad Day is an independent book store that specializes in LGBTQIA+ literature and is the oldest surviving bookstore in North America specializing in queer literature. Originally opened in 1970 by Jay Moldenhauer, Glad Day has come under new management and now offers food and drinks in addition to hosting events, readings, and other cultural events for Toronto’s LGBTQIA+ community. Please see here for the Facebook event.

Medievalists of Color AGO Reception & Ethiopian MSS Exhibit

6:30pm, Thursday, July 12, Art Gallery of Ontario

Reflecting NCS 2018’s commitment to investigating questions of race in the field of medieval studies and beyond it, we warmly invite all conference attendees to a reception at the Art Gallery of Ontario, co-hosted by the New Chaucer Society and the Medievalists of Color (MOC). The theme of this reception is “From Allies to Accomplices.” Please join NCS and MOC in a convivial space for conversation about the experiences of people of color in medieval studies, the goal of consistent and meaningful inclusivity in the field, and the ways that medievalists of color are changing the archival, methodological, and theoretical landscape of the profession.

Congress registrants are encouraged to visit the galleries of the AGO during the reception to see works by members of the famous Group of Seven as well as the Thomson Collection of European Art, which includes a magnificent collection of medieval ivories and boxwood prayer beads. Conference registrants are also invited to visit a display of Ethiopian manuscripts on Friday afternoon. NCS will offer a brochure containing short interpretive texts by medievalists of color responding to these artifacts and offering questions and thoughts to provoke further conversation.

The Miller’s Tale: Wahala Dey O! (play performance)

7:00pm, Friday, July 13, Isabel Bader Theatre; 5:00pm, Sunday, July 15, Theatre Erindale

The Miller’s Tale: Wahala Dey O! is a Nigerian play adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale, written and directed by Ufuoma Overo-Tarimo.

The Miller’s Tale: Wahala Dey O! brings to life Chaucer’s medieval pilgrimage transposed to a prayer retreat in Lagos, Nigeria, where a drunken miller tells of the wahala (trouble) of a wealthy Urhobo carpenter tricked by his teenage wife and her lovers. The play weaves Chaucerian satire together with song, dance, and social commentary of modern Nigeria, asking bold questions about the wahala that unites us all--the fragile human emotions of fear, love, revenge, and our incessant need for gossip.

The play premiered in 2012 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to critical acclaim, and is being staged July 13 and 15, 2018 as a joint production between the University of Toronto and Saga Tiata, performed by members of the original cast alongside actors from the Nigerian and African diasporic community in Toronto. Undergraduates from the Department of English and Drama at the University of Toronto-Mississauga are putting together a critical edition of the play, led by Dr. Jessica Lockhart, which will be on sale during the conference.

Further information:

After Dinner Drinks & Dame Sirith (play performance)

6:30pm, Saturday, July 14, Toronto Reference Library

The dinner on Saturday night is at the Toronto Reference Library, which was designed by architect Raymond Moriyama, opened in 1977, and is the biggest public reference library in Canada. During the dinner there will be a performance of Dame Sirith, the only known English fabliau outside of Chaucer’s works. Dame Sirith is a very short, very silly comic medieval play for four actors: a randy priest, the gullible woman he lusts after, the old “witch” Dame Sirith, and the narrator / puppeteer who also plays a dog. It will be performed by the University of Toronto’s Poculi Ludique Societas, who sponsor productions of early plays, from the beginnings of medieval drama to as late as the middle of the seventeenth century. For more than four decades PLS has performed vivid, powerful, and popular theatre for the people of Toronto and beyond.

Special Exhibits

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (120 St. George Street)

Wednesday, July 11 - Friday, July 13

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library will be featuring a special monthly highlights exhibit curated by Julia King called “The Fisher’s Tale: Modern and Early Modern Settings of Chaucer’s Works at the University of Toronto” - the library is open to the public 9:00 am-5:00 pm.

University of Toronto Art Museum (7 Hart House Circle)

The University of Toronto Art Museum will be open from 12:00-5:00 pm for the duration of the conference. The Malcove Collection will be of particular interest to conference goers; it features medieval art and objects that are frequently used for classroom teaching in Toronto.

E. J. Pratt Library, Victoria College (71 Queen's Park Crescent E)

The E. J. Pratt Library at Victoria College and the affiliated Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies Library is open for visitors to view their early modern astrolabe, Wednesday-Friday. Please check in at the front desk and proceed to the 4th floor.