SOFAM Speaker Series: Dr. Janine Rogers | College of Arts

SOFAM Speaker Series: Dr. Janine Rogers

Date and Time


MacKinnon Building, Room 114 , University of Guelph


As the Reverend William Purvis Chair of English Literature in the Department of English Literatures at Mount Allison University, Dr. Janine Rogers discusses Wondrous Beasts: The Book, the Body, and Medieval Materialism in the History of Knowledge.

This talk will consider the pre-modern roots of eighteenth-century intellectual culture, specifically in regard to the influence of medieval manuscript culture on the development of scientific inquiry leading to the Enlightenment. Challenging the usual distinctions between medieval and modern, this presentation focuses on the way medieval manuscripts harnessed the idea of the "wondrous" as a fundamental epistemology, and explains how this impacted knowledge culture in the early modern period. Medieval manuscripts were products of the natural world (fabricated using animals, plants, and minerals); they were also the medium by which one could learn about the natural world. Medieval scholastics used complicated collection and ordering practices to build "books of nature" - with textual, visual, and spatial structures working together to demonstrate knowledge. The medieval manuscript is part of the complex heritage of science collection and museumship, which flourished in the eighteenth century, and which is still relevant to our contemporary museum practices - a heritage in which "wonder" plays a central role.

This is the final talk in a SSHRC-funded intellectual exchange between The University of Guelph and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick on “Wonder in the Eighteenth Century.” 

All are welcome.