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, and the development of classical education.

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

Philological Observation (manuscript in preparation)

Journal Articles
“Philological Observation,” Modern Intellectual History (2020): 1-30. 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
“Professors,” in Information: A Historical Companion, eds. Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, A.-S. Goeing, Anthony Grafton (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 694-702

“Eduard Wölfflin and his Amerikanische Schule”: for Qui Trans Mare Currunt, eds. W. Briggs, D. Shanzer (submitted)

““Big”-ness in Action: Notes from a Lexicon”: for Writing the History of the Humanities, ed. Herman Paul (submitted)

“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

Forthcoming and in progress for Isis and Zeitschrift für Germanistik

Selected Presentations and Conference Activity

“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,” July, 2021

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

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

“History of the Humanities” (in conversation with Paul Babinski): Mississippi State Institute for the Humanities, 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 available online at….

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