Welcoming Dr. Christian Knudsen
The Medieval Bells Ring Out…the Newest Member of our Creativity Team
It is with great pleasure that we’d like to introduce the latest faculty member of Sheridan’s Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Christian Knudsen, Professor of Cultural History. Christian brings a unique field of expertise to our growing Sheridan community, studies in Medieval and Early Modern European History, and his research and publications have explored norms of sexuality in late medieval and early modern England, medieval monasticism and Medieval Latin palaeography. Christian holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto, and a B.F.A. in Film Production from York University. Over the past seven years, Christian has taught a variety of history courses at the University of Toronto and has presented his research at several international conferences in both Europe and North America. He is currently working on a chapter for a forthcoming edited volume on the History of Medieval Monasticism published by Cambridge University Press, and is adapting his doctoral dissertation into a book – Naughty Nuns and Promiscuous Monks: Monastic Sexual Misconduct in Late Medieval England.
Christian originally came from a Film and Television background and has not completely lost touch with that world. Recently, Christian was the host for a children’s history show pilot entitled History Rocks and was one of the hosts for History Crashers, a pilot commissioned by the History Channel.
As a historian and teacher, Christian states that he has three main goals in his courses: “First, to encourage students to read historical sources with a critical eye and understand how historians test hypotheses and form conclusions. Second, to recognize the relationship of the past to the present, and to recognize the roots of cultural, social and institutional change. And third, help our students improve their ability to communicate effectively — particularly in terms of writing.”
Whenever possible, Christian tries to demonstrate historical concepts with reference to his research. The underlying principle is to get students to see history as process of intellectual investigation rather a set of facts to be memorized. As Christian explains, “my roles as teacher and researcher are not mutually exclusive — both naturally inform the other. Thus, the problems and curiosities I encounter as a historian inspire many of the ideas, assignments and examples I use a teacher.”
Christian’s next major project will be a wide ranging study looking at the fate of ex-monks and nuns after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of Monasteries (1536), a topic which developed directly from his dissertation. Former monks and nuns in early-modern England faced numerous financial, cultural and psychological challenges in adapting to the outside world. Understanding how these challenges were met, will not only greatly add to our understanding of the overall transformation of the English Church during the Reformation, but also help us understand how humans adapt to radical economic and social change.