Christian Flow

Christian Flow


  • History of Science and Technology


  • Assistant Professor


  • European History
  • Early Modern History
  • History of Science


I am a historian of Europe since the Renaissance with a particular interest in the history of science and scholarship. My work takes the study of ancient languages as a problem for the history of knowledge. Concretely, I am interested in examining the practices, instruments, and institutions that scholars of Latin and Greek—often identified with the larger pursuit known as “philology”—have drawn upon to generate and maintain new conclusions about very old texts and textual evidence. I am further concerned with how “philological” modes of investigation are intertwined with those of scholars and scientists in other arenas.

My current book project examines the changing regimes of “observation” professed and practiced by textual scholars from the sixteenth through the late nineteenth century—a story that emerges from the histories of three attempts to generate a comprehensive lexicon of Latinity. Other interests include Latin composition, the notion of the “Bureau,” the history of universities, the development of classical education, and forms of scholarly conversation—particularly in the philological seminar and its precursors.

I have had the good fortune to teach undergraduate courses on everything from ‘Core Texts’ to Renaissance Latinity to time and temporalities. I welcome inquiries from graduate students interested in the history of science and scholarship, European history, the history of the university/pedagogy, or simply enthusiastic about Latin.

Ph.D., History, Princeton University, 2019
Graduate Certificate, History of Science, Princeton University, 2016
M.A., History, Princeton University, 2013
A.B., Classics (Latin and Greek), Harvard University, 2010

Assistant Professor, Mississippi State University, 2022-
Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, U. of Southern California, 2020-22
Visiting Assistant Professor, Shackouls Honors College, Mississippi State University, 2019-20

Observing Everything: The Unfinished History of Latin’s Greatest Lexicon (manuscript in preparation)

Journal Articles
“Encountering Huberia: Positioning an Eighteenth-Century Professor in Time.” Journal for the History of Knowledge 4 (2023).

 “Once and for All? A Philological Project On (and Off) the Clock,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition ([2023], pre-print 2022)
DOI: 10.1007/s12138-022-00627-5

“Philological Observation,” Modern Intellectual History 19.1 (2022): 187-216. DOI:10.1017/S1479244320000396

(co-author with R. Calis, F. Clark, A. Grafton, M. McMahon, J. Rampling), “Passing the Book: Cultures of Reading in the Winthrop Family, 1580-1730,” Past & Present 241.1 (2018): 69-141. DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gty022

Book Chapters and Solicited Contributions
““Big”-ness in Action: Notes from a Lexicon”: in Writing the History of the Humanities: Questions, Themes, and Approaches, ed. Herman Paul (London, 2022), 131-52

“Eduard Wölfflin and his Amerikanische Schule,” in Qui Trans Mare Currunt, eds. W. Briggs, D. Shanzer (De Gruyter, forthcoming)

“Professors,” in Information: A Historical Companion, eds. Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, A.-S. Goeing, Anthony Grafton (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 694-702

“Thesaurus Matters? Frames for the Study of Latin Lexicography,” in Classics in Practice: Studies in the History of Scholarship, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Supplement 128, eds. C. Stray and G. Whitaker (2015), 33-73

Essays and Reviews
“Football-meister say ‘Feel the hype’: The Aesthetics of Asceticism.” Erudition and the Republic of Letters 8 (2023): 190-208.

Zeitschrift für Germanistik (32.2: 434-38); Isis (112.2: 395-7)

Available Online

Recording of 2019 lecture:…

Selected Presentations and Conference Activity

“Timing Knowledge, Finding Huberia: The Temporal Profile of a Göttingen Professor”: Internationales Kolloquium zur Gräzistik und Wissensforschung der Antike und ihrer Rezeption, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, July, 2022

“Observing “Everything”: Towards a History of Philological Sight”: Oberseminar: Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, June, 2022

“Time/Space/Conversation: Dimensioning the Philologist”: Intellectual History: Forschungsseminar zur frühneuzeitlichen Wissens- und Kulturgeschichte, Universität Erfurt: Forschungszentrum Gotha, May, 2022

Respondent to paper of Kris Palmieri, “Classical Philology and the Institutionalization of Neohumanism in the German Enlightenment”: Early Modern and Mediterranean Worlds Workshop, University of Chicago (online), History, April, 2022

“Meditations on Professional Marginalia and Marginal Professionalism”: Renaissance Society of America (Dublin), roundtable: “Working in Margins: Professional Notes in Books,” March/April, 2022

“Stephanus perennis?: Lexical Collection and Lexicographical Futures Among and After the Estiennes”: Renaissance Society of America (Dublin), panel: “Foraging in the Ruins: Humanist Reconstructive Scholarship,” March/April, 2022

“Thinking Fast and Slow: Timing the Work of an Eighteenth-Century Professor”: The Classical Tradition and the Making of Knowledge, USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, February, 2022

“Philologists in Space and Time: Thoughts in Progress on Work(s) in Progress”: Work in Progress presentation, Classics Department, University of Southern California, October, 2021 (repeated at Universität Hamburg, December 2021)

“Textual Technologies in Action: The Estienne Press," Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) annual meeting, roundtable: “Practices of Moving texts: A Roundtable on the History of Information” (online), July, 2021

“Seeing and Time: Following the Philological Eye“,” Intellectual History: Forschungsseminar zur frühneuzeitlichen Wissens- und Kulturgeschichte, Universität Erfurt: Forschungszentrum Gotha (online), July, 2021

“Franz Bücheler und der Thesaurus Linguae Latinae”: lecture for “Interpretation antiker Texte” (Dr. M. Elisabeth Schwab), Universität Bonn (online), June, 2021

“History of the Humanities” (in conversation with Paul Babinski): Mississippi State Institute for the Humanities (online), March, 2021

(co-organizer with Anna-Maria Meister, Laetitia Lenel, Richard Spiegel, and Janina Wellmann), Conference: “Timing Knowledge” (online), June, 2020

“Irrealis der Vergangenheit: Wendepunkte in der Frühgeschichte des Thesaurus”: 125th anniversary celebration, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, Munich, October, 2019 (recording linked above)

“‘Measuring Instruments’ for Language History: Rhetoric and Reality of a Nineteenth-Century Latinist”: History of Science Society, panel: “Science, Universal History, and the Future,” (delivered remotely), July, 2019

“Philology on (and off) the Clock: The Case of the Thesaurus linguae Latinae”: History of Science Society, panel: “Timing Knowledge,” November, 2018

“Lexicographical Material: The Thesaurus linguae Latinae Zettelarchiv”: at “Material and Institutional Aspects of Field and Discipline Formation,” workshop at Center for Science and Society, Columbia University, September, 2017

Herzog-Ernst-Stipendium der Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, for research at Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (summer 2021, 2022)

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, University of Southern California (2020-22)

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow (2017-18)

Visiting Predoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (2017-18)

Visiting Fellow, Jena Center, Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts (2017)

Kathryn Davis Fellowship (Italian, Middlebury Summer Language School) (2014)

DAAD Study Scholarship (Berlin, Humboldt University, Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte) (2013)

DAAD Summer Language Grant (2012)