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The Toronto Renaissance and Reformation Colloquium was founded in 1964 by Natalie Zemon Davis and James K. McConica, both young historians connected with the University of Toronto. The university then was much smaller; it had 26, 350 students, of which only 14,912 were full-time. But it possessed a remarkable group of Early Modern specialists, spread out across many departments and all three campuses, and Early Modern studies were vigorous at York and other southern Ontario universities. Existing departmental boundaries, however, meant that not many people in the field actually knew each other. TRRC was established to bring together faculty and students at Toronto, York, and across southern Ontario and northern New York state to exchange ideas and draw attention to the critical mass of talent in the region working in the period 1350-1700.
In the first issue of Renaissance and Reformation (October 1964) the founding of the Colloquium was announced with a dinner meeting to be held on December 4 at which Professor Clifford Leech would speak on “Marlowe’s French History.” From that meeting there stretches a history now more than fifty years long. TRRC is a membership organization (its inexpensive subscription provides vital funding) but its lectures are open to all members of the university and are often attended by friends and supporters in the local community.
TRRC sponsors a lecture series every year, besides occasional colloquia. It shares in the sponsorship of Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, now an admired international journal just over fifty years old. The Colloquium is also an Associate Organization of the Renaissance Society of America, where it has recently begun sponsoring panels and special sessions at the RSA's annual conference.
Today TRRC functions as a regional community of scholars who come together independent of any single academic institution, offering programs locally and facilitating the community's interests through a national journal and its presence at international societies. Sponsorship of its programme is made possible through partnerships with the Centre for Reformation and Reformation Studies, lectures occasionally co-sponsored with individual departments and institutes, and vitally, the subscriptions of members who want to ensure the Colloquium's programme and its future.