Donna Trembinski

Nicholson Tower
(902) 867-3741
Ph.D., University of Toronto
(902) 867-3741
521 Nicholson Tower
Associate Professor




Plagues and Peoples
Vikings!: The Course
Still not Ancient Aliens: Premodern History 300-1300
No It WASN’T Ancient Aliens: Premodern History to 300
Explorers and Exploration before Columbus
Crusades and their Cultures
The Medieval Body
Rites of Passage and Daily Life in the High Middle Ages
Inquisitions and Heresy in the High Middle Ages
The High and Late Middle Ages

Research Interests

Disability Studies, History of Medicine, Intersections of Religion and Medicine, Trauma Theory and Historical Trauma.

Current Research Projects

Found in (Digitized) Translation?: Transmissions of Knowledge on Eye Care in the High Middle Ages will illuminate how medical knowledge in the High Middle Ages was learned, received, translated and transmitted in the medieval West.

            The task of understanding how medical knowledge in the High Middle Ages was developed—from local practical and spiritual traditions paired with classical and Islamicate theories about how bodies worked and across Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures is still in its early stages. With a focus on the treatment of eye diseases, this project will address this gap through a critical analysis of Latin manuscripts and the creation of a searchable, digital repository of such manuscripts. Concentrating on this discrete subset of medical knowledge, the study allows for a more detailed examination of what kinds of knowledge were shared, not only at the level of practitioner and text, but drilling down to the level of cure or recipe. A critical analysis of these works will challenge traditional scholarly opinion by demonstrating that the transmission of medical knowledge was not unidirectional but a dialectic between Arabic, Latin and local vernaculars, resident and foreign ideas, and practical and theoretical traditions.

Publications & Conferences


Rough Art for Illness and Authority Illness and Authority: Disability in the LIfe and Lives of Francis of Assisi. (Forthcoming, University of Toronto Press, Fall 2020)

With J. Holler and R. Semple, Global Christianities. Under Contract to University of Toronto Press.

Recent Articles and Essays in Collections

"Francis and Jesus". In Illuminating Jesus in the Middle Ages, ed. Jane Beal. (Leiden: Brill 2019), 219-239.

"Trauma as a Category of Historical Analysis." In Trauma and Medieval Society, eds. W. Turner and C. Lee. (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 13-32.

“An Infirm Man: Reading Francis of Assisi’s Retirement in the Context of Canon Law.” In Medicine and the Law, eds. Wendy Turner and Sara Butler.  Leiden: Brill, 2014:  269-287.

Encyclopedia Entries

"Disability and Medicine" Encylopedia of the Global Middle Ages. In Press, Arc Humanities Press.

Recent Conferences

"Gender Exiles: Constructing the Gender of Dis/Abled Men in the Early Thirteenth Century". Annual Conference of the Atlantic Medieval Association, St. Johns NL (Oct 2019).

"Disability, Trauma and Conversion in the Lives of Early Franciscan Saints". Experiences of Dis/Ability from the Late Middle Ages to the Early Twentieth Century, Tampere, Finland. (Keynote, August 2019)

With K Cawsey, D Hayes, A. Kaufman, D Wessel-Lightfoot, "Racism in Medieval Studies: Problems and Potential Solutions. Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Medievalists, Vancouver BC (June 2019).

"Francis' Disability Infirmities: Disability and the Expectation of Masculine Sanctity in the Thirteenth Century". Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Medievalists, Vancouver BC (June 2019).

"Disability and Power in the Early Lives of Francis of Assisi". International Medieval Congress, Leeds, UK (July 2018)

"At the Intersection of Disability and Gender: Masculinities and Femininities in teh Thirteenth Century", Gendered Histories of Health, Healing and the Body 1250-1550. Cologne, Germany (January 2018).