Mark Vessey, Principal Emeritus of Green College
Mark Vessey was the Principal of Green College at UBC from 2008-2023. He had a long history with the College before that, having served as Acting Principal in 1998-99, and as a Faculty Member of Common Room since 1994.
Mark has an MA in English from the University of Cambridge and a DPhil in Ancient History from the University of Oxford. He came to UBC in 1989 as an I. W. Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English, and was appointed to a faculty position in that department the following year. He held a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls’ College, Oxford, in 1997 and was Visiting Professor of Augustinian Studies at Villanova University in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Literature / Christianity and Culture (renewed in 2005), and in 2005 won a Senior Killam Research Prize at UBC. Before taking up his position as Principal of the College, he served as Associate Head of the English Department and Chair of the Graduate Program in English. He was a member of the UBC Senate, representing the Faculty of Arts, from 2002 to 2003, and again from 2008 to 2014.
His scholarly research focuses on processes of text-, canon- and discipline-formation in the Latin culture of the later Roman Empire (4th to 6th centuries) and their long-term role in shaping discourses and institutions of “western” culture, particularly those associated with “literature.” He has published extensively in the fields of late Roman history, Latin patristics, early medieval studies, Latin and English Renaissance literatures (notably the works of Erasmus of Rotterdam), literary theory, and history of the book.
His books include a collection of essays on Latin Christian Writers in Late Antiquity and their Texts (2005), an edited volume on Augustine and the Disciplines (2005), an edition of Augustine’s Confessions (in English) for Barnes & Noble Classics (2007), a Companion to Augustine (2012) and an edited volume on The Calling of the Nations: Exegesis, Ethnography and Empire in a Biblical Historic Present (2011), derived from a Thematic Lecture Series at Green College and an Exploratory Workshop at UBC’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. A student edition of a major work of literary and hermeneutical theory by Erasmus of Rotterdam, for which he is lead contributor, is due out in early 2021 from the University of Toronto Press. Most of his work takes the form of essays for journals and collections, of which he has published 100 or so.
He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Late Antiquity and of Erasmus Studies, of the Collected Works of Erasmus published by the University of Toronto Press, and of the Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum. From 2013 to 2018 he was one of the team leaders on the SSHRC-funded international research partnership “Early Modern Conversions: Religions, Cultures, Cognitive Ecologies, 1300–1700,” based at McGill University.