American Philosophical Society
Member History

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4. Humanities[X]
1Name:  Dr. Mary J. Carruthers
 Institution:  New York University; All Souls College, Oxford
 Year Elected:  2022
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  402b
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1941
Mary Carruthers-- biographical sketch I am a historian of the European Middle Ages, concerned especially with late classical and medieval ideas about human psychology, including rhetoric and meditation. My focus now is on Latin materials, but I began as a scholar of medieval English language and literature, interests that have never left me. Having been born and raised first in India and only later in North America, embedding myself in languages and cultures very different from those of the modern West feels natural to me. My scholarly approaches engage historical questions of linguistics and reasoning, as well as the material culture of the book. My work in Latin rhetoric began by examining its logical structures of remembering, some work which has brought me into fruitful contact with psychologists who are also interested in learning and memory, and with some interested in computer-enabled archival design. More recently, my work has concerned medieval aesthetic values and their rootedness, via theories of the bodily humours, in various medical as well as religious ideas. My current research is on the methods learned for Invention and composing, including the various logics implied in diagrams. This engages medieval ideas not only about human creativity and artistic design, but the fundamental concepts of harmony and geometry that were basic equally for Augustine and Quintilian and in medieval practices of meditation and visionary contemplation. They are also basic to medieval understanding of the cosmological physics of the Six Days described in the Genesis Creation myth.
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