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Doctoral Fellowship

The Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellowship supports doctoral students registered in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto. Amongst other things, the Fellowship offers a financial award, access to the NFC and a shared office, and membership to an interdisciplinary community of scholars.

Award Details

Up to four one-year Fellowships will be awarded for 2021-2022. Applications in Humanities and interpretative Social Science disciplines are welcome, and applications are especially encouraged from candidates who work in the following academic programs and areas of study offered at Victoria College:

  • Creative Expression and Society
  • Education and Society
  • Literature and Critical Theory
  • Material Culture and Semiotics
  • Renaissance Studies
  • Science and Society

Award Details
These Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellowships, valued at $3000 each, are for one academic year (September 1 – April 30). Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellows will be expected to engage with students and the larger intellectual community at Victoria College and present a lecture or seminar related to their research.

Victoria College will provide NFC Doctoral Fellows with a shared workspace, Victoria University Common Room privileges, an allowance of $200 for meals at the Burwash Hall dining room, as well as access to special collections at the E. J. Pratt Library.

How to Apply

Candidate Criteria
Successful candidates will have a strong academic record and show potential for research excellence as well as the ability to contribute to the priority areas of the NFC and Victoria College.

Please note that the Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellowships and the Chancellor Jackman Graduate Student Fellowships in the Humanities (Jackman Humanities Institute) are mutually exclusive. Applicants are encouraged to apply to both programs, but may not hold a Chancellor Jackman Graduate Student Fellowship and a Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellowship concurrently.

The application for Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellowships is distinct from that of Victoria College Junior Fellowships. Applicants may apply to both but may not hold a Junior Fellowship and a Northrop Frye Doctoral Fellowship simultaneously as successful NFC Doctoral Fellow applicants will hold overlapping privileges.

Applications for 2022-23 are now CLOSED. Applications for 2023-24 will open in spring 2023. 

Applications must include: 

  • a one-page cover letter outlining your qualifications for the Northrop Frye Centre Doctoral Fellowship
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a one-page summary of your doctoral thesis and progress to date
  • a letter of recommendation from your dissertation supervisor

Undergraduate Research Award

The NFC Undergraduate Research Award provides Vic students with the opportunity to further their involvement with Humanities and Social Sciences research. Given that research in these fields occurs in a variety of ways, different types of proposals are encouraged and will be considered. Students should, in consultation with their faculty supervisor, propose a research project.

Please consult the Faculty-led Research Projects below for a list of projects you may wish to consider.

Award Details

The funds may be taken as a form of stipend while conducting research (ie: while performing archival research and writing, or acting as a research assistant on a pre-existing project) or used to help cover a research trip. In each case, you must have a faculty supervisor who is willing to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf in which she/he comments on the project and approves the proposed budget if required.

If your proposal is successful, in addition to the research funds and mentoring, you will be given the title of “Northrop Frye Centre Undergraduate Fellow” and invited to participate in NFC activities during the academic year following conferral of the award. Additionally, you will communicate the results of your project at an undergraduate research colloquium. Projects that use the resources of the Victoria University Library are encouraged.

Value: up to $2,000

Faculty-led Research Projects

Project Supervisor: Professor Alison Keith
Number of students: 1 or more
Required Skills: Students must have completed Intermediate Latin II (LAT202H2S)

Ovid retells the best-known myths of classical antiquity in his grand epic Metamorphoses, which supplied European artists, musicians and authors with a cannon of classical myths that are still popular today in artistic genres undreamt of by the Latin poet (jazz, installation art, film…). The fourth book of the Metamorphoses includes some of the most popular of these myths — Pyramus & Thisbe, Medusa, Perseus & Andromeda, among others.

My project is the preparation of a commentary on Met. 4 for the Cambridge University Press ‘green & yellow’ commentary series. Research will be conducted on Ovid’s Latin lexicon; his metre (dactylic hexameter); and his Greek and Latin literary and textual sources. This research project is suitable for undergraduate students with three years of University-level Latin and/or Ancient Greek.

The NFC Undergraduate Fellow will be trained in: Hellenistic ethics; metrical and stylistic analysis of Latin epic; and recognizing verbal allusions in the Latin literary and classical philosophical traditions.

How to Apply

Deadline: Applications for 2022-23 are now CLOSED. Applications for 2023-24 will open in spring 2023. 

Visiting Fellowship

The Northrop Frye Centre offers non-stipendiary Visiting Fellowships to scholars working on research projects in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.

NFC Visiting Fellows will have access to the University of Toronto library system and the E.J. Pratt Library’s special collections. Visiting Fellows are encouraged to attend and participate in Northrop Frye Centre and Victoria College events, and will be expected to communicate the results of their own research in a public lecture organized by the Centre.

How to Apply

To apply: please email your Curriculum Vitae and project proposal to

Applications for 2021-22 will be considered on a rolling basis.

Research Affiliate Program

The Northrop Frye Centre Research Affiliate Program is a special opportunity that provides financial and administrative support for the research projects of Victoria College Fellows. The program is of special interest to Fellows who work with, or would like to work with, undergraduate Research Assistants.

Program Details

About the Program
By affiliating a research project with the Northrop Frye Centre (NFC), Fellows gain access to the following:

1) The NFC covers the residual wages for Work Study Research Assistants (normally one per project and normally a Victoria College student).

2) The NFC provides priority-booking access to the Centre (VC102) for research-related activities. If needed, the NFC will also offer administrative support for affiliated research projects.

You must be a Victoria College Fellow with a research project that requires a Research Assistant.

Past Projects

2021-22 Projects

Brian Baigrie | The Logic of Shared Decision-Making in the Clinical Encounter
"Shared medical decision-making (hereafter referred to as SDM) is widely regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of clinical practice. SDM has been defined in a number of overlapping ways, but is standardly conceptualized as involving four (necessary) components: (1) clinician and patient are mutually involved in the decision-making process; (2) clinician and patient mutually engage in a bilateral exchange of information; (3) clinician and the patient both participate in the decision-making process by expressing treatment preferences in an attempt to reach a consensus (agreement); and (4) the clinician and patient reach a decision as to a treatment to implement The distinctive feature of this standard account of SDM is that the four components are held to describe a deliberative process (decision analysis) that results in an outcome (treatment decision).

Our project seeks to develop a conceptual framework for SDM based on the claim that the point of SDM (and its value to clinician and patient alike) is to engage patients in clinical analysis, not necessarily to make decisions about treatment, though sometimes the process of SDM does result in decisions about treatment. Shared decision-making (SDM) is not synonymous with a treatment decision. There are many outcomes of a decision, and all can be construed as part of SDM – shared decision-making is not a binary of both parties to “take the therapy” vs “don’t take the therapy.” This new conceptual framework aims to give a clear and concise logical analysis of the paths physicians and patients can take on the road to addressing a health concern during the clinical encounter."

Elise Burton | Lexicon of Science in Asia: A Multilingual Historical Database
"Due to Asia’s vast linguistic and cultural diversity, studies of Asian science are often siloed into sub-regional area projects for which the primary frame of comparative reference is Europe and/or North America, rather than other parts of Asia. As a step toward solving this problem, the Lexicon of Science in Asia (LSA) aims to create a tool to enable all scholars to engage in historical and contemporary comparative work and forge collaborative networks to study trends in Asian science. The LSA is a searchable database of scientific terminology in Asian languages that acts not simply as a translation glossary, but rather as a repository of historical scholarship and archival information linking shared etymologies and word usage changes over time across disparate languages. The Lexicon, while initially focusing on terms related to medicine, genetics, and biology related to my own research, will eventually scale into a collaborative and crowdsourced digital resource aiming to represent over a dozen key Asian languages. During the past year, the pilot version of the LSA has been developed primarily with Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, and Persian terms. With the support of the NFC, I hired Zaheer MacDonald as an undergraduate research assistant to begin constructing the Lexicon website, particularly its database infrastructure. Zaheer took the leading role in programming the website alongside other graduate and undergraduate team members. Thanks to his hard work and patience in researching the suitable software tools, coding languages, and hosting platforms for this project, the pilot version of the LSA website is nearly ready to be launched, with the expectation of recruiting new collaborators and team members next year."

Edward Jones-Imhotep | The Black Androids and the Technological Underground
"This project explores the black technological experience in 19th and early 20th century America through a history of the "black androids" — automata in the form of black humans. From the 18th century onwards, hundreds of black androids were produced, purchased, and displayed across five continents. In the United States, these machines formed part of a culture of minstrelsy concentrated along Broadway Street in New York City. Using the technologies of the time — steam, mechanics, electricity — these American androids portrayed black people in pastoral, leisurely, and non-technological roles, supporting the myth that technology is opposed to blackness. The androids' surface, however, masked how those same technologies featured centrally in the lives, imaginations, and self-identities of black New Yorkers. This project examines that duality: how the technologies that drove the androids' racist depictions also figured crucially in black technological experiences, agency, and selfhood in 19th and early 20th century New York. Focusing on the period from 1830 to 1930, the project analyzes archival collections, material artifacts, court documents, city records, periodicals, and sound and image repositories to produce the first history of android technologies as both race-making objects and central elements in the technological experiences of African-Americans." 

Shaun Ross | Digital Edition of the Aeneid
"A team of three undergraduate researchers - Ashley Couto, Alexandra Forsyth , and Bronwen Cox - worked collaboratively in the ongoing creation of a digital edition of the Aeneid charting the poem’s reception in the late middle ages and Renaissance. These student researchers, who were focusing on Book 6 of the Aeneid in 2021-22, traced and schematized the influence of Virgil’s epic on works including Dante's Commedia, Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, and Camões’ Os Lusíadas, . Building on work begun with the help of undergraduate RAs during the Scholars-in-Residence program in 2021, these students also played the groundwork for a series of critical/thematic articles that will function as a supplement to the final version of the digital edition. The NFC provided important support for this project by enabling the hiring of students with a wide range of disciplinary and language competencies necessary for this evolving research project."

John Zilcosky  Wrestling: A Cultural History
"Why do we wrestle? Why was this humanity’s first sport? Scholars of antiquity claim that we needed wrestling to honor the gods. Scholars of today’s “professional” wrestling argue that it satisfies our desire for melodrama. In this first book examining wrestling’s historical arc from Plato to Hulk Hogan, I claim that its defining quality is the enwrapping of bodies, resulting in a delirious mixture of violence and sex. When primitive humans made grappling a sport, they aimed to stage and contain these desires: Two men embraced aggressively yet did not try to kill or rape the other. The strangeness of this attracted observers and explains why wrestling still draws great crowds – thus demanding a cultural analysis. We watch, amazed, as two people try to hurt and not hurt each other, returning us to the ambivalence that made us human and gave birth to civilization. Appealing to scholars, athletes, and general readers, my book will catalyze new thinking about sports and civilization."


2020-21 Projects

Julia Forgie Teachers’ Efficacy for Online/Distance Teaching during the COVID-19 Crisis
"This project examines the self-efficacy beliefs of teachers as they navigate the world of online-teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employing a mixed-methods approach utilizing quantitative measures including survey and self-reported efficacy scales, and the use of qualitative interviews, this study aims to explore the range of self-efficacy beliefs that public and private/independent schoolteachers in Ontario hold about their teaching practice.  As such, the study seeks to assess teachers’ feelings of efficacy in classroom management, instructional strategies, student engagement, and technology use in teaching in an online/distance format. This study will also examine how teachers’ efficacy beliefs when teaching via an online/distance mode compare to their efficacy beliefs when teaching in a traditional, in person format. Finally, this study seeks to explore the curricular decisions of teachers as they plan and implement online/distance learning and examine any relationships between self-efficacy and teaching practices.  

Omar Hussein was an engaged and effective research assistant for this project. They meticulously coded the survey data results from over 300 respondents. Omar was also involved in the recruitment, scheduling and administration of 20 interviews with teachers. They also transcribed 20 interviews with enthusiasm and precision. Omar made several important contributions to this study, and I am grateful to the Northfrop Frye Centre Research Affiliate Program for the opportunity to engage Omar in this research."

Shaun Ross | Digital Edition of the Aeneid
"A team of four extremely capable undergraduate researchers - Chiara Campagnaro, Lucy Faria, Noah Stevens, and Veronica Spada - worked collaboratively in the ongoing creation of a digital edition of the Aeneid charting the poem’s reception in the late middle ages and Renaissance. These student researchers, who were focusing on Book 4 of the Aeneid in 2020-21, traced and schematized the influence of Virgil’s epic on works including Dante's Commedia, Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, Ercilla’s La Araucana, Camões’ Os Lusíadas, Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Building on work begun with the help of undergraduate RAs during the Scholars-in-Residence program in 2020, these students also played the groundwork for a series of critical/thematic articles that will function as a supplement to the final version of the digital edition. The NFC provided important support for this project by allowing for the hire of students with a wide range of disciplinary and language competencies necessary for this evolving research project."


2019-20 Projects

Anne Urbancic | Mario Pratesi
"Ryan Hamilton was an outstanding participant in the Fall/Winter 2019-20 Work Study Program through the NFC Affiliation. He completed all the tasks indicated in the job proposal. My studies on the letters to and from Tuscan author Mario Pratesi were immensely helped by Ryan’s diligent research and careful transcription of original and rare manuscript materials. His work clearly indicated his interest in and commitment to the project. In fact, at our meetings, our conversations tended to go on as we discussed all aspects of the author, the sociopolitical environment in which he wrote, his works and his correspondents. Thank you so much for the NFC Affiliation opportunity."

John Zilcosky | Literature, Trauma, Modernity
"This project examines literary representations of trauma from the Industrial Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars to the aftermath of World War I, when “shell shock” came formidably to the public eye. First, I ask the pressing question of representability and doubt in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century medical literature: If we can find no somatic source for trauma, how do we know that it even exists? Then I investigate the literature of this period – “modernism” – which both reacted to and shaped this discourse. Rarely focusing explicitly on traumatic events, this literature only hints at traumatic occurrences – foregrounding instead the problem of representability at the heart of the modern age. Just as the traumatized body no longer pointed back to a physical pathology, so too did language itself now seem to be severed from the object it aimed to describe. 

Maral Attar-Zadeh did a brilliant job assisting. She performed library and online research, assembled bibliographies and provided annotations, edited drafts for style and content, and consulted with me about the larger research goals and conceptual problems central the project."

Andreas Motsch | A Critical Edition of Joseph-François Lafitau's Mœurs des Sauvages Amériquains Comparées aux Mœurs des Premiers Temps (1724)
"Isaure Vorstman was already familiar with my research thanks to a JHI-scholarship which saved us much time. Besides the mundane tasks of organizing material (copying, scanning and filing texts) and finding and ordering rare books, we concentrated on two areas. We collaborated on a new electronic database on jesuit sources, the Digital Indipetæ Database, an open access database with collaborators from many different countries. The goal was to learn more about Jesuit Studies as a research field and to improve paleographic skills. Isaure transcribed and proofread about twenty 19th century letters from French Jesuits requesting permission from the order's superior to join the overseas mission. Besides transcribing the letters themselves this required researching and preparing metadata for publication. It also comprised providing critical feedback to the editors to improve the beta version of the database. Isaure will be given credit in the database as transcriber as soon as these letters are published. 

The second focus concerned the French Jesuit Joseph-François Lafitau (1681-1746) directly. Lafitau was a missionary in New France who produced an extensive description of Iroquois customs and belief systems. Lafitau is from Bordeaux, then a thriving port engaged in the overseas trade with many foreigners passing through or setting up shop. While Lafitau's French family connections were partially known, his mothers flemish origin was totally obscure, i.e. until Isaure was able to locate his mother and her family in s'-Hertogenbosch in Brabant! Her discovery greatly advances our research into the socio-economic origins of Lafitau's family."

How to Apply

To apply: please submit a short abstract about your project along with a few lines about how collaborating with the NFC and/or employing undergrad RAs would benefit your work. Please send your application to

Applications for 2022-23 projects are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is June 17, 2022.