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Marc Saurette

Associate Professor - Medieval cultural and religious history, especially monasticism, chronicle traditions, discourses of emotion and literacy

Degrees:B.A. Hons. (Manitoba), M.A. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2831
Office:440 Paterson

As a member of the Department of History and as the co-ordinator for the Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) program at Carleton, my teaching seeks to demystify the medieval world. This year, I am teaching a range of courses from an introduction to European history (HIST 1001, The Making of Europe) to advanced courses looking the medieval manuscripts in Carleton’s library (HIST 4007, The History of the Medieval Book). Together with students in MEMS, I am cataloguing the hitherto unidentified medieval manuscripts and fragments in Carleton’s Archives and Research Collection. If you are interested in medieval studies, but don’t see the course you’re looking for in History, check out the list of possible electives for MEMS here.

My research interests revolve around the lives and literary production of the monks of Cluny. The abbey of Cluny, located near Macon in the French region of Burgundy, was founded in the early tenth century. Its life revolved around the cultivation of virtue and the promotion of spiritual prestige through an unparalleled program of prayers, liturgical celebration and ritualized comportment. The monastery of Cluny was arguably one of the most prominent and powerful religious institutions from its founding to its dissolution during the French Revolution. Its first abbots were widely accepted as capable leaders in life and powerful saints after their death. By the twelfth century, the abbots of Cluny oversaw a vast network of houses spreading from England to the Levant. Under their tutelage, Cluny produced untold monks esteemed for their holiness and trained them to become bishops and even popes. Its abbots were advisers to kings and acted as architects of Church doctrine. The monks of Cluny did not withdraw from the secular world, but sought to engage with it.

My research work to date has focused mainly on three authors writing within the Cluniac milieu: the twelfth-century abbot of Cluny, Peter the Venerable, and two of his monks, Peter of Poitiers and Richard of Poitiers (also known as Richard of Cluny). Through the writing of these monks, I seek to explore the world view, the power relationships and the uses of literacy disseminated from Cluny.

Please contact me if you are interested in pursuing graduate research in medieval studies at the Department of History. 

Research Interests

  • Medieval and early modern cultures, politics, and religions
  • History of Christianity, especially ascetic and monastic communities
  • Topics in intellectual and cultural history (emotion, friendship, communication)
  • Digital Manuscript Studies
  • The Middle Ages in Pop Culture

Honours and Awards

2009-16 SSHRC Standard Research Grant: An Edition and Study of the Opera Omnia of Richard of Poitiers
2008-09 SSHRC Institutional Grant
2005-06 Postdoctoral Fellowship, SSHRCC
2004-05 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Groupe de recherche sur les pouvoirs et les sociétés de l’Occident médiéval et moderne (GREPSOMM)
2004 Student Development Award, Erindale Part-time Undergraduate Students (EPUS), University of Toronto at Mississauga

Select Publications

Peter the Venerable and Secular Friendships.” Friendship in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: Explorations of a Fundamental Ethical Discourse. Eds. Albrecht Classen and Sandidge, Marilyn. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2011, 281–308.

Thoughts on Friendship in the Letters of Peter the Venerable.” Revue Bénédictine 120 (December, 2010).

“Tracing the Twelfth-Century Chronica of Richard of Poitiers, monk of Cluny.” Memini: travaux et documents 8 (2004/05). Submitted and published in 2007.

Graduate Supervisions

Liz Cherrett,”Aelfric of Enysham,” MA Thesis (expected completion May, 2018).

Evan Jones, “Order and Emotion: The Rhetoric of Disgust in Peter the Venerable’s Adversus Iudaeos,” M.A. Thesis (completed, September 2016).

Corinna Prior, “Crossing out of the Carolingian Cloister: An Examination of Interaction during the Monastic Reforms of 816-817,” (completed September, 2009).

Abraham Plunkett-Latimer, “The Cistercian Lay Brother in Burchard of Bellevaux’s Apologia de barbis,” (completed August, 2010).

Honour’s Thesis Supervisions

Kaitlyn Brasseur, “A Handlist of Western Medieval Manuscripts and Fragments in Ottawa,” (provisional title; expected completion May 2018).

Max Cronkite “Gregory of Tours: Gamifying the sixth-century History of the Franks,” (provisional title; expected completion May 2018).

Consult my curriculum vitae here.