Michael Gervers

Photo of Michael Gervers
Telephone number
Building HW 423
Art History and Visual Culture


Michael Gervers has been teaching History and Art History at the University of Toronto since 1976 (after three years as Assistant Professor at New York University), and has been Full Professor since 1984.

As a Killam Fellow in 1975 he founded the D.E.E.D.S Project (Documents of Early England Data Set), which has been devoted largely to the study of the medieval English property exchange document, or charter. He is the author/editor of 18 books and author of over 75 articles on aspects of medieval history, art history and archaeology, and textile history and ethnography. His on-line, searchable database of 11,000 English property-transfer documents from the late eleventh century to 1307 has been developed in conjunction with algorithms prepared by Andrey Feuerverger and Gelila Tilahun of the University’s Department of Statistics to apply accurate chronological determinants to the 95% of legal documents from the period which were issued without dates.

This and related research (assisted by his PhD students, Robin Sutherland-Harris and Eileen Kim), including participation in a recent Digging into Data (DiD) Project entitled ChartEx, is currently supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC). He is presently expanding the DEEDS database to include digitized Latin charters from the 11th through early 14th century, from any source. He is also founder, and director, of the Central and Inner Asia Seminar (CIAS) and, together with Ewa Balicka-Witakowska of Uppsala University, has established Mazgaba Se’elet, an on-line database of over 65,000 photographs, largely his own, of Ethiopian art and culture.

His course at UTSC on the Cultural History of Ethiopia (HISC52H3) is unique in North America. He is presently working with Paulina Rousseau in a UTSC Library project which will make the entire manuscript collection of the 15th-century Ethiopian monastery at Gunda Gunde (Tigray Province) available on line. Other interests include aspects of the ancient art and archaeology of Mongolia.




A.B. (Princeton), M.A. (Poitiers), PhD (Toronto)