Suzanne Conklin Akbari headshot

Suzanne Conklin Akbari

School of Historical Studies

Medieval Studies


Historical Studies

Home Institution

University of Toronto

Suzanne Conklin Akbari has expanded the range and methods of exploring texts from the Middle Ages, pushing the boundaries of traditional readings and exploring shared histories. Her research has traced the evolving relationship between sight and knowledge as manifested in a range of poetic texts, explored the relationship between Islam and Christianity, challenged the notion of medieval European literature’s insularity, and highlighted the influence of Arabic poetry, music, and philosophy. She is currently working on a survey of metaphor and metamorphosis as they were understood in England and France circa 1400, and an examination of how premodern people saw themselves situated in history. Akbari is deeply interested in the relationship of the local and the global, especially as understood through the work of those who contribute to the field of Indigenous Studies, both academic scholars and traditional knowledge-keepers. She is committed to fostering relationships with Lenape (Delaware) communities, in recognition of the land she lives and works on – in Munsee Delaware language, “Lunaapahkiiing” – and is a member of NAISIP. Akbari is co-PI on “The Book and the Silk Roads”, now in its second phase under the title “Hidden Stories: New Approaches to the Local and Global History of the Book” (2023-26), and a collaborator on the “The Practices of Commentary”. With Chris Piuma, she co-hosts a literature podcast called The Spouter-Inn.

Dates at IAS

School of Historical Studies


Columbia University
Columbia University
Johns Hopkins University


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant for "The Book and the Silk Roads"
Insight Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Chancellor Jackman Research Fellowship in the Humanities
Faculty Award, University of Toronto
Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award (Humanities), University of Toronto


University of Toronto, Centre for Medieval Studies
Director 2013–19; Placement Coordinator 2009–11; Ph.D. Coordinator 2003–08
University of Toronto, Department of English
Professor 2009–19; Associate Professor 2001–09; Assistant Professor 1995–2001
University of Toronto, School of Graduate Studies
Special Advisor to the Dean, Graduate Program Innovation. Cross-appointed to Centre for Comparative Literature; Centre for Jewish Studies; Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies; Institute for Islamic Studies; University College