The project is titled “Practices of Commentary” and grew out of a Reading Group hosted at the Jackman Humanities Institute in 2017. It is funded for a five-year period (2020-2025). In addition to Professor Goodman, the project is also led by Professors Walid Saleh (Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations), Markus Stock (Germanic Languages and Literatures) and Jeannie Miller (Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations), with the active participation and support of Suzanne Akbari (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton). The project also unites participants from many other departments at the University of Toronto, including the Department of Classics, Department of English, Centre for Medieval Studies and Department of Philosophy. It also brings together world-leading scholars from Carleton University, McMaster University, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Goethe University Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Needham Research Institute, and the National University of Singapore.
For more information about the project, please read the summary below from Professor Saleh and Dr. Jessica Lockhart:
“Our primary goal is to set new research agendas for the longue durée of an interpretive mode that has been used in a diversity of cultures, has never ceased to shape opinions and worldviews, and continues to serve as a prime site for the perpetuation and innovation—and, sometimes, willful distortion—of knowledge, as seen in social media-infused digital spaces. The project seeks to develop a global perspective on practices of commentary, de-siloing regionally-focused work while simultaneously offering fine-grained and nuanced accounts of the function of commentary in cultures and communities of the pre-modern world. Thus, this project has a global scope, bringing together both senior and junior scholars with expertise in various European, Near Eastern, South and East Asian traditions to debate the theory and practice of commenting and commentary in humanistic studies today.
We hope that this grant’s collaborations, and in particular the students and other early career scholars who will participate in it, will bring about a transformation and develop a deep comparative background to our individual disciplines.”