COCHELIN, ISABELLE Contact Areas of Interest

Cochelin, Isabelle
Department of History
100 St George Street, Toronto ON  M5S 3G3
t: 416-978-7414
  • Medieval monasticism
  • Daily life
  • Life cycle
  • Medieval social hierarchy
  • Poverty
  • History of domestic servants
  • Monastic customaries
  • Hagiography
  • Cluny


Associate Professor Isabelle Cochelin teaches in the Department of History and at the Centre for Medieval Studies. Her work investigates medieval monasticism from a socio-religious point of view. She is co-editing with Alison Beach (Ohio State University) a two-volume on Medieval Western Monasticism for Cambridge University Press with more than 60 authors from all around the world.

She is also the co-editor of the series Disciplina Monastica (Brepols) with Susan Boynton (Columbia University). Her own research focuses on the simple monks, lay servants working for them, and the primary sources concerning these groups, especially the customaries. Her publications deal with the internal structure, daily life, life cycle, entrance, conversion, ideals, and external relationships of medieval monasteries, particularly Cluny, and mostly in the tenth and eleventh centuries. She obtained a BSc from McGill University, a licence, maîtrise and DEA from the Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne, and a PhD from Université de Montréal.

Primary Teaching

Graduate teaching

  • Monastic Identities
  • Medieval Social History
  • Institutes of Perfection (joint graduate and undergraduate course on medieval monasticism)

Undergraduate teaching

  • Down and Out in Medieval Europe (on poverty in the Middle Ages)
  • Rituals of Passage and Daily life in the Middle Ages
  • Shape of Medieval Society (Introductory course on medieval history, co-taught with Professors Goering and Silano)
  • The High Middle Ages

Selected Publications

“Customaries as Inspirational Sources”, in Constitutiones et Regulae: Sources for Monastic Life in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, ed. Clark Maines and Carolyn Malone,to appear in 2012. 73pp.

Medieval Lifecycles: Continuity and Change, co-edited with Karen Smyth, series IMR, Brepols (Turnhout). In press.

“Introduction: Pre-thirteenth-century definitions of the life cycle”, in Medieval Lifecycles. 43 pp.

“Adolescence uncloistered (Cluny, early 12th century)”, in Medieval Lifecycles. 39 pp. + tables (5 pp.)

“When the Monks were the Book (6th-11th cent.)”, in The Medieval Bible as a Way of Life, ed. Susan Boyton, and Diane Reilly, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011, pp. 61-83.

«Le pour qui et le pourquoi (des manuscrits) des coutumiers clunisiens», in Ad libros! Mélanges d’études médiévales offerts à Denise Angers et Claude Poulin, ed. J.-F.  Cottier, Sébastien Rossignol and Martin Gravel, Montréal : Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2010, pp. 121-38.